Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD are hoping to pump the brakes on soaring Bronx car thefts by having motorists in the borough tag their vehicles for free.
The mayor, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell and Chief of Department Jeffery Maddrey joined Chairman of the Association for a Better New York Steven Rubenstein to announce that some 500 Apple AirTags will be available for free for automobile owners within the confines of the 43rd Precinct in hopes of combatting a rash of Grand Larceny Auto crimes.
According to the mayor, these tags can be hidden anywhere inside of a vehicle and, if the car is driven, the owner will receive a notification on their cell phone alerting them that their property has been taken without their consent. Owners will also be able to track their vehicle, thus being able to notify police to exactly where the car is.
“This is a partnership we can do together,” Hizzoner charged. “Using technology to fight crime, protect people, save property is the direction this administration and this police department is going in. This simple device, this simple AirTag hidden in a car, is an excellent tracking device. It’s easy to monitor.”
The AirTags, which will be distributed at the local station house, come as the Adams administration is seeking to combat crime. While the mayor took a victory lap in regard to homicides, shootings, and robberies, the top city elected admitted that Grand Larceny auto is trending in the wrong direction across the five boroughs, but especially in the Bronx.
According to the NYPD, the borough’s 43rd Precinct alone has seen 207 recorded Grand Larceny Autos from January to April, with another nine taking place this week alone.
Police say Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been the prime target of these joy rides, due to a manufacturer fault that allows them to be jump-started using charging cables, which has been widely publicized and even encouraged through social media platforms such as TikToK. Officials hope that, with these AirTags, thieves will be quickly brought to justice — or even discouraged in the first place.
“It also allows us to be more strategic while mitigating pursuits, keeping us safe and keeping the community safe,” Chief Chell said.
Police brass and the mayor emphasized that they, themselves will not have access to the tracking information provided by the tags. That luxury, they said, will go to the owner, and it will be up to them to alert the NYPD if a car is stolen.
Adams on Sunday demonstrated the tech with his own vehicle, showcasing the location of his car via his smartphone.
“If this car was a stolen car, we would have received a notification that the car is moving, and it’s actually showing you in real time where the car is located,” Adams said, “so, police officers are able to go there with the owner’s permission.”
Since the AirTags are made by Apple, they are only available for iPhone users.