Police in Washington D.C. are gifting away Apple AirTags in an effort to curb automotive thefts, which have greater than doubled within the final yr, in keeping with WAMU. The Mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, calls it a “pilot program” during which police are utilizing all instruments at their disposal to maintain the capital metropolis protected — together with client electronics whose remit was by no means meant to be public security.
This system comes after the Mayor’s workplace and Metropolitan Police Division of the District of Columbia had already handed out steering wheel locks to assist forestall thefts concentrating on Kia and Hyundai autos which might be straightforward to steal attributable to a scarcity of engine immobilizers — widespread anti-theft gadgets that Hyundai and Kia determined had been pointless in sure current automobiles. Per WAMU:
Wednesday’s initiative is the newest in a sequence of anti-theft and theft-prevention measures taken by town, as cases of automotive theft have risen over the previous yr. Motorcar theft has elevated 101% from this time in 2022, in keeping with D.C. police knowledge. D.C. has recorded greater than 5,800 motorautomobile thefts as of Nov. 1.
Over the summer time, Bowser and Hyundai supplied an “anti-theft” clinic for Hyundai house owners at RFK Stadium; Hyundais and Kias make up a big chunk of autos focused and stolen within the D.C. area attributable to methods on some fashions that made them simpler to steal. Movies on TikTok and different social media platforms have proven how one thing so simple as a USB cable can be utilized to hotwire Kias and Hyundais constructed between 2010 and 2021 that also use a typical key and never a fob or push-button.
The automotive thefts plaguing town are usually not completely concentrating on autos from Korean automakers, though the spike in associated crimes has been attributed, partly, to the convenience with which thieves can break into and steal these automobiles.
Police held a sequence of clinics to show residents the right way to use the Apple AirTags. Residents, nevertheless, should show they stay in areas of town which were most affected by the thefts. The MPD reportedly taught individuals the right way to set up the AirTags, which Mayor Bowser calls “digital monitoring tags,” as WAMU reviews:
At every occasion, D.C. cops will assist set up the tags and get them registered on somebody’s telephone. (Throughout a quick demonstration on Wednesday, a D.C. officer “put in” the tag by saying you may form of place it wherever within the automotive.) The tag’s location is not going to be accessible to police; residents must share the placement info with legislation enforcement ought to their automotive be stolen. It really works equally to another sort of FindMy service on Apple merchandise.
It’s unclear what residents who make the most of the free AirTags are imagined to do in case of a theft; police most likely don’t need individuals going after automotive thieves, so it’s seemingly victims must work with police, offering info from their telephones to facilitate the police work. There are just a few issues right here, not the least of which is giving police any type of entry to personal knowledge in your handset, however the tradeoff could also be value it.