NYC Giving Free Apple AirTags to Improve Car Theft Issue

Mayor Eric Adams announced New York City’s plan to give out free Apple AirTags to residents in attempts to slow the rapid rate of car theft in NYC.

Local nonprofit, the Association for Better New York, donated 500 AirTags for the police to hand out to residents. The Crime Prevention Unit of the NYPD is working on a plan to distribute the tracking devices by first focusing on areas with higher number of reported auto thefts. The mayor’s office has reported that the city is also intending to extend this initiative through fundraising efforts to purchase more tracking devices.

Only 4 full months through 2023 and the rate of car thefts in NYC have already increased more than 13% from the same period in 2022. New York City has already reported nearly 4,500 car thefts so far this year.

Mayor Adams specified that the AirTags are “not a centralized tracking system where we are in charge of tracking someone’s car,” they simply give GPS tracking capabilities to police once the car owner has notified them. AirTags are small enough devices to put in any discreet or less- checked compartment of your vehicle, allowing them to go unnoticed by thieves and giving live GPS data on the location of the vehicle. NYPD Chief of Patrol, John Chell, says the AirTags allow “our officers to be more strategic while mitigating pursuits, keeping us safe and keeping the community safe. . . Hopefully we recover your car undamaged, we take a bad guy off the streets, and you get a car back to conduct your business and it doesn’t impose on your life.”

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