(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced that DC residents who own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai vehicle are eligible to receive a free steering wheel lock from an MPD District station starting this Friday, February 24. MPD is partnering with Kia and Hyundai corporations to combat motor vehicle theft after a social media challenge that encourages using a USB cable to steal these types of cars led to a substantial increase in Kia and Hyundai car thefts.
“Car theft is a serious problem – it is incredibly stressful and often costly and time-consuming for the victims, and it is dangerous to have these stolen cars on the road,” said Mayor Bowser. “I encourage all DC residents who own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai to pick up their free steering wheel locks as soon as possible from a District station to prevent theft. As MPD and our public safety partners work together to prevent car theft and hold accountable those who are stealing cars in our city, this is one way we can work together to proactively prevent crime.”
This week, MPD will begin offering free steering wheel locks to District residents who own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai on a first-come, first-serve basis and while supplies last.
Residents who qualify for the steering wheel lock must have proof of the below:
- A 2011-2021 Hyundai or Kia Vehicle
- A steel key ignition (keyless entry/push-to-start vehicles are not impacted)
- Proof of DC registration
- A District ID
Starting this Friday, February 24, residents with impacted Kia and Hyundai vehicles can pick up a steering wheel lock by visiting any of the MPD District stations:
- First District: 101 M Street SW
- Second District: 3320 Idaho Avenue NW
- Third District: 1620 V Street NW
- Fourth District: 6001 Georgia Avenue NW
- Fifth District: 1805 Bladensburg Road NE
- Sixth District: 5002 Hayes Street NE
- Seventh District: 2455 Alabama Ave SE
The steering wheel locks will be given to qualified residents on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents can check to see if their local District station has any wheel locks remaining by going to mpdc.dc.gov/autotheft.
In 2022, there were 3,761 motor vehicle thefts in Washington, DC, an 8% increase from 2021. The social media trend of how to steal the cars, which was made public during the summer of 2022, directly increased the number of motor vehicle thefts the city saw involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In January 2022, there were 25 total reported incidents of motor vehicle thefts involving these vehicles. In December 2022, there were 150 reported incidents.
MPD also encourages all residents and visitors to practice the following safety tips:
- Never leave your engine running or leave your vehicle unattended.
- Turn off your vehicle and take your key fob with you.
- Lock your car.
- Take your keys with you.
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Park in a well-light area or parking garage.
- Remove USB cables from your vehicle while it is not in use.
- Consider purchasing an anti-theft device.
- Contact your local dealership for software updates.
- Call 911 for assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department if you see or suspect something out of the ordinary.
“We are seeing that many of the vehicles stolen in the District are later being used to commit acts of violent crime in our city,” said Chief Contee. “This is unacceptable. The Metropolitan Police Department’s top priority is to ensure that every resident and visitor of this city is safe from becoming a victim of a crime, and that the violent offenders that choose to act recklessly are being held accountable for their actions.”
To read more motor vehicle safety tips and other resources, visit mpdc.dc.gov.