Hamilton police issuing limited number of Kia, Hyundai steering wheel locks

An uptick in thefts follows the national trend after social media posts show how to steal certain models.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Hamilton Police Department has seen an increase in Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts, similar to what other cities have experienced since a viral internet trend that began in 2021.

Hamilton Police Department officials have reached out to Kia/Hyundai about the issue, and the company has supplied the department with a limited number of steering wheel locks. These will be offered to Hamilton residents free of charge. The manufacturers encourage customers to contact their local dealership to have a free software upgrade applied to their vehicle to help prevent vehicle thefts.

Nationwide, Kia and Hyundai thefts have shot up over the past three years as social media posts have shown the ease of hotwiring certain models, as reported by multiple media outlets. CNN reported theft insurance claims of specific models of Kias and Hyundais have increased more than 1,000% from the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2023, citing data from the Highway Loss Data Institute.

To obtain a free steering wheel lock, Hamilton residents must drop by the police department between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 331 S. Front St., and ask for the Public Affairs Section. Residents must provide a copy of their title or registration, and their vehicle must be one of the affected vehicles on the list and have a keyed ignition. Push-button start vehicles are not included.

Additionally, the department will offer a reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of suspects in these motor vehicle thefts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Investigations Section at 513-868-5811, ext. 2002.

Kiplinger reported there was a settlement for a class-action lawsuit last year, and there is no need to contact a law firm to join as owners will be automatically contacted by March 4 if their VIN qualifies. To learn more, visit the Hagens Berman Hyundai/Kia Car Theft Defect Lawsuit and Settlement FAQ page.

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