Citing an increase in car thefts, D.C. police are offering free wheel locks to city residents who own certain Kia or Hyundai cars.
In a news release, the city said the wheel locks will be available to D.C. residents who own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai car. Proof of a steel key ignition, D.C. registration and a D.C. ID are all required to get one of the locks.
The initiative, part of a collaboration between D.C. police and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, comes as car thefts in the city are on the rise. In 2022, there were over 3,700 car thefts in the city, an increase of 8% compared to 2021, according to the release.
A social media challenge that involves using a USB cord to steal certain types of Hyundai and Kia cars has let to a spike in car thefts, according to the release.
“We are seeing that many of the vehicles stolen in the District are later being used to commit acts of violent crime in our city,” Police Chief Robert Contee said. “This is unacceptable. The Metropolitan Police Department’s top priority is to ensure that every resident and visitor of this city is safe from becoming a victim of a crime, and that the violent offenders that choose to act recklessly are being held accountable for their actions.”
In January 2022, there were 25 car thefts involving Hyundais and Kias in D.C. In December, there were 150 reported incidents.
Starting Friday, the locks can be picked up at the following D.C. police stations:
- First District: 101 M Street SW
- Second District: 3320 Idaho Avenue NW
- Third District: 1620 V Street NW
- Fourth District: 6001 Georgia Avenue NW
- Fifth District: 1805 Bladensburg Road NE
- Sixth District: 5002 Hayes Street NE
- Seventh District: 2455 Alabama Ave SE
The car companies donated 1,000 wheel locks for the city to distribute, according to a D.C. police spokeswoman.
Prince George’s County police in Maryland distributed wheel locks to certain car owners earlier this week.