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NYPD gave out 500 free Apple AirTag trackers in car theft crackdown

Published May 1st, 2023 8:45AM EDT
Apple AirTag
Image: Apple Inc.

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The Association for a Better New York (ABNY) is donating 500 AirTags so the NYPD can distribute them to car owners to help prevent car theft in the city. According to ABC, vehicle theft is up 13% citywide compared to the same period last year, with nearly 4,500 vehicles reported stolen.

One of the reasons, according to the NYPD, is due to TikTok users instructing thieves how to steal Kias and Hyundais. “This year alone, we have 966 Hyundais and Kias taken,” said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell. According to the publication, the automakers are offering owners free software updates to help stop the trend.

While we heard several stories of people placing AirTags in cars to help prevent theft, this time, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell is also advising New York citizens to get an AirTag. “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.”

With a retail price of $30, an AirTag connects with your iPhone and only needs to be charged around once a year. Using the Find My app, you can locate the AirTag and the attached item. Apple uses the Find My network, an anonymous network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your lost devices.

If you place your AirTag in your car, it will update the location every time it passes close to an Apple device connected to the internet.

The Association for a Better New York will be donating 500 AirTags to the NYPD, which will announce how it’s going to distribute the item trackers to NY citizens through its Twitter account.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.