A campaign has been launched in New York in which the police want to increase the use of Apple’s AirTags in cars. 500 pieces are even distributed free of charge.
It’s pretty unusual for a law enforcement agency to aggressively encourage the use of a particular product—but that’s exactly what’s happening in New York right now. At a press conference over the weekend, the New York Police Department (NYPD), which is responsible for the metropolis, asked citizens to equip their vehicles with Apple’s AirTags so that they can be found more easily in the event of theft. The Bluetooth and ultra-wideband trackers are intended to help curb a current wave of theft in and around the city.
500 AirTags distributed for free
Citizens should hide the AirTags, which are available for just under 32 euros (from 31.30 €), in their car. “The 21st century requires 21st-century policing,” the NYPD wrote on Twitter. “AirTags in your car will help us locate your vehicle if it’s stolen.” The authority is already using drones and tracking devices shot by officials at vehicles. “Help us [well] help you, get an AirTag.”
A video also distributed by the NYPD shows how people should do this: The AirTag must be placed in a place where it is not easy to find. The Joint Operations Center then uses patrol cars and even drones to track the vehicle, while the police officers receive “live” location data from the victim.
Rise in robbery in the Bronx
The free AirTags are to be distributed in the Bronx, where there is currently a wave of thefts of certain brands in Castle Hill, Parkchester, and Soundview – according to the NYPD almost 550 percent more Hyundais and Kias were recently stolen. This, in turn, has to do with a viral TikTok video showing how to bypass security measures in older models.
New York Mayor Eric Adams said at the press conference it was easy to protect the vehicle. “A simple AirTag hidden in a car in a location unknown to a person makes an excellent tracking device.” You will be warned if the vehicle is moving. “It actually shows you where the car is in real-time.” Why exactly Apple and no other tracker provider is recommended remains unclear. For example, Samsung also offers such technology. Apple’s AirTags have recently been equipped with stronger anti-stalking measures, which unfortunately makes it easier for thieves to discover them.