New York’s latest crime prevention tactic involved the distribution of 500 free Apple Inc.’s AAPL AirTags to combat car theft.
What Happened: To curb car theft in some regions of the city, the New York Police Department and Mayor Eric Adams announced on Sunday that 500 Apple AirTags would be distributed to residents in the 43 Precinct, reported ABC7NY.
The 43 Precinct has more than 200 grand larceny auto cases, the highest in the city.
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While it remains to be seen whether Android users will receive the same assistance, individuals interested in obtaining an AirTag can reach out to their local precinct to make a request.
“Your phone will be alerted. You know someone’s in your car who’s not supposed to be, and/or it’s stolen. You call 911 as fast as you can. You tell the officers involved ‘I have an AirTag,’ and they will immediately, with citywide apprehension apparatus, start putting that tag citywide,” said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.
According to the NYPD, videos on TikTok providing instructions to thieves have contributed to an uptick in the theft of Kias and Hyundais, the report noted.
Why It’s Important: Initially intended to aid in locating lost items such as wallets or luggage, the AirTag has been utilized for purposes beyond its original design.
This includes an instance where an army wife used the device to locate a wayward mover and a car owner tracked down their stolen vehicle using the AirTag.
It is pertinent to note that AirTags have also been widely used for harassment and stalking purposes. Apple previously acknowledged such concerns and informed users about new software updates that address such issues, including tracking people without consent.
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