SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx (WABC) -- New York City is ending April with crime numbers down.
"But the aggravating number of grand larceny auto continues to drive up crime in the city and give a false sense that we're not moving in the right direction when we are," said Mayor Eric Adams.
Grand larceny auto, or vehicle theft, is up 13 percent citywide compared to this time last year, with nearly 4,500 vehicles reported stolen.
The biggest increase is in the Bronx - 24 percent over this time last year. That is why Mayor Adams and top police officials are suggesting car owners get an AirTag.
An AirTag costs around $30 and works with an iPhone. You only need to charge it once a year and it is in your car connected with the 'Find My' app on your phone. You can set it up to tell you if your car is on the move.
"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 will start putting that tag citywide," said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.
The nonprofit, Association for a Better New York (ABNY) is donating 500 of them that will be given out for free citywide, with details to come on the NYPD's Twitter account.
The NYPD is blaming TikTok, in part, for driving an increase in theft of Kias and Hyundais, because of videos instructing thieves. The automakers are offering owners free software updates to help stop the trend.
"This year alone, we have 966 Hyundais and Kias taken," said Chief Chell.
Mayor Adams made the announcement in nearby Castle Hill because the 43 Precinct has the highest number of grand larceny auto cases in the city this year - more than 200.
The precinct's commanding officer noted that there is an AirTag equivalent for Android, so he said anyone with a car and a smartphone can and should get a device that can help you help the police find your vehicle if it is stolen.
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