As Kia and Hyundai thefts climb in Philly, police halt wheel lock distribution program designed to curb crime

Philadelphia Inquirer Steering Wheel Lock Story 04.30.2023

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

“If every other car manufacturer on Earth is using an immobilizer and you’re not, and your cars are getting stolen and straining city resources across America, I think you leave yourself open to a lawsuit,” said Michael Brooks with the Center for Auto Safety.

By Beatrice Forman and Sabrina Iglesias
April 30, 2023

The Philadelphia Police Department halted a steering wheel lock distribution program offered by Kia and Hyundai to deter break-ins following a sudden uptick in thefts of the car brands. The stoppage came after commanding officers of four police districts requested the locks without permission of upper command staff, according to a department spokesperson.

Philadelphia police have said that the decision to halt the program had to do with legal liability fears. Philadelphia now has the only law enforcement agency out of a combined 725 participants to end or off-load wheel lock distributions, according to spokespeople from Kia and Hyundai.

Although car safety experts say the wheel lock programs from Kia and Hyundai aren’t sufficient, some community members say they believe they missed out on an opportunity to protect their cars.

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