HOUSTON — If you drive a Kia or Hyundai, listen up! The Houston Police Department put out a warning Thursday for those who drive those cars. In the last few months, HPD said they’ve seen a 200% increase in thefts of those vehicles.
A sergeant with the police department said Kias and Hyundais have made it to their top 10 most stolen cars in the city and they want people to be proactive and take steps to protect their vehicles.
It’s all because videos on social media have shown people how they can start Kia and Hyundai vehicles without the key. It's causing problems for owners all across the country.
"It made its way here, and when it got here, it really took off," Sgt. Tracy Hicks, with the Auto Theft Division at the Houston Police Department, said.
Hicks said that in the last few months, they’ve seen a 200% increase in thefts in Kias and Hyundais. Officers said it’s a quick easy steal.
"These are strictly stolen to either get from point A to point B for a joy ride or to go and commit another crime," Hicks said. "The good news is the recovery rate on these Hyundais and Kias is much higher than average other cars. They are literally used from one side to the other and are being dumped."
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Put an alarm on your car with a tracker or immobilizer
- Put your car in the garage, if possible
- Use steering wheel locks
And although HPD knows the methods are not foolproof, the harder you make it for the crook the more likely they are to move on to the next car.
"If it's someone breaking into our car ... if it's someone stealing our car, we have to make it difficult for them. The days of crossing our fingers are over. Education and prevention are the key to this. It's not going away, it's not going to go down. All we are going to do is keep fighting it. We are going to continue to add layers of protection to anything to do with our car," Hicks said.
The police department also suggests you contact Kia and Hyundai to see if your car is eligible for a free computer update from the dealership, to prevent theft.