Auto-theft in NYC spikes; Mayor Adams issues plan to arrest trend


Mayor Eric Adams announces a comprehensive new plan to crack down on auto thefts throughout the five boroughs | Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK – Mayor Eric Adams has announced a comprehensive new plan to combat grand larceny auto (GLA), which has increased 19% through August. The plan includes enforcement strategies, collaboration with private and public sector partners, and education efforts by the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and New York City Small Business Services (SBS).

The spike in auto theft, the City said, was driven by an increase in the theft of confident Kia and Hyundai models that is impacting New York City and the nation, adding that viral social media videos push the trend. That trend emerged in the City in September 2022, spiked three months later, and continues today.

“Violent crime is down in New York, but this administration isn’t going to stop there. Today, we are announcing bold action that takes a 360-degree approach to combatting car thefts in New York City,” said Adams. “This comprehensive plan focuses on enforcement, education, partnerships, and outreach to help us leave car thefts in the dust. Our administration is serious about New Yorkers’ safety, and today, we are taking control of the wheel to bring down car thefts — sending a clear message that if you steal a vehicle in New York City, you will be held accountable.”

Every NYPD precinct now has a dedicated GLA radio motor patrol car outfitted with two mobile license plate readers that will be on patrol 24/7 and serve as a liaison to the existing detective squads within the confines of each precinct. Additionally, the NYPD has assigned a GLA coordinator within its Crime Analysis Unit to enhance data collection on stolen or lost vehicles and arrest tracking.

The newly deployed GLA response vehicles will scan known active hotspot locations and recovery locations within their command to identify potentially stolen vehicles and reduce response times by patrol cars when responding to calls for stolen vehicles.

“The NYPD’s plan to combat the rise in vehicle thefts is another product of our focused vision for a safer New York City,” said Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “We will never stop fighting for victims — this is what New Yorkers expect from their police department, what they deserve, and what we are going to deliver.”

In line with the mayor’s overall approach to utilizing state-of-the-art technology to enhance public safety operations, the Auto Crime Unit said it would continue to utilize all of the tools at its disposal and work in real-time with the NYPD’s Auto Larceny Units in the field to assure successful outcomes and a safer city.

The plan also includes an unprecedented proactive educational strategy to help combat GLAs throughout New York City. Adams, deputy mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks, and SBS commissioner Kevin Kim convened a group of representatives of the auto dealer industry, including the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), to implement strategies that will educate vehicle owners and consumers throughout the five boroughs.

The plan also calls for enhanced collaboration between all relevant law enforcement and community partners to achieve reductions in auto theft. As part of the administration’s upstream efforts to prevent car thefts, the NYPD will work closely with violence interrupters, school administrators, the New York State Family Court, and the New York City Department of Probation to conduct proactive outreach to individuals with multiple recent arrests for GLAs. It will also conduct home visits of juveniles with multiple car theft arrests to proactively deter future involvement with GLAs. Conducting outreach to young people is critically important as more than half (51.4) percent of those arrested for GLAs since September 2022 have been under 18, and 88.4 percent are under 25.

Earlier this year, Adams, the NYPD, and the Association for A Better New York (ABNY) announced the donation of 500 Apple AirTags by ABNY to the City for distribution to the public to crack down on the uptick in GLAs. New Yorkers with an AirTag — which is a quarter-sized Bluetooth tracker designed by Apple to help people keep tabs on valuables or frequently lost items — or other similar inexpensive item can hide these devices in their vehicles and allow them to track down an automobile if stolen.

Additionally, in June, Adams and the New York City Department of Law announced that the City joined ongoing national litigation against car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai to hold the two companies accountable for refusing to equip specific models of both cars with standard anti-theft measures following an uptick in car thefts. That suit is ongoing.

“The retail automobile industry in metro New York is pleased to partner with the mayor and commend him for taking a leadership role on this important issue, and we are committed to working together through the Auto Show and our 400+ local franchised new car retailers wherever we can,” said GNYADA president Mark Schienberg.

-With Jay Domingo/PDM

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