New York and San Antonio cops differ on tracking stolen cars with Airtags

Posted:
in General Discussion
New York City police recently gave out free AirTags to cut down on vehicle theft, and just days after that announcement San Antonio law enforcement has advised against using the trackers.

Be cautious when using AirTags to track stolen items
Be cautious when using AirTags to track stolen items


Vehicle thefts are on the rise in some states, so much so that New York City handed out free AirTags to residents so they can track their vehicles. Vehicles are also being stolen in San Antonio, Texas, but police urge caution when using Apple's tracking technology.

Victims may be tempted to use an AirTag to track their vehicle to the thief's location to confront them, but that can be dangerous. Instead, victims of vehicle thefts should report the crime to the police as soon as possible, said officer Ricardo Guzman, a spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department.

In the meantime, if someone discovers a stolen vehicle without the assistance of law enforcement, they too should call the police right away, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Five Kia models, including the Optima, Soul, Forte, Rio, and Sportage, topped the list of most stolen vehicles in March. With the Sonata and Elantra, which was the most stolen vehicle, Hyundais also made the list. The second-most stolen cars were Ford F-series pickup trucks.

According to San Antonio police, some social media videos showing how to steal Kia and Hyundai model cars that lack an engine immobilizer -- an electronic security feature that prevents a vehicle from being started without the proper key -- may be a factor in the rise in vehicle thefts.

Hyundai has a free anti-theft software upgrade for specific models in response to increasing thefts. Nearly four million vehicles are eligible, with models as far back as 2011.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    It seems they don’t differ. The NYC handed out AirTags and told people if their car is stolen to immediately contact police. In NYC and San Antonio the police are delivering the same message. 
    ronndewmelolliverbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,004member
    JP234 said:
    Yep, no matter where you live in this country, no matter how well you're armed, you should call the cops. A law abiding citizen has no business engaging in potentially violent or fatal interactions with criminals.
    You shouldn’t go looking for trouble but call the police. (Ie you AirTag equipped stolen vehicle). 

    However the above statement could be taken as all inclusive (not just AirTag equipped cars being tracked).  Unfortunately we don’t always get a chance to choose when a criminal engages us.  He comes barreling into my home (home invasion) the cops will be called asap but the criminal will also be violently engaged immediately.  
    JapheykingofsomewherehotbeowulfschmidtDooofuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    mikethemartianmikethemartian Posts: 1,367member
    Dooofus said:
    I believe it is in the interest of the police to encourage AirTag use. They get credit for solving car thefts without having to doing the traditional police work it would take to track down the thieves.
    I doubt that most police departments actually investigate the majority of car thefts unless it is associated with a more serious crime where someone’s safety or life were endangered.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,039member
    I keep an AirTag in my car. It's not terribly useful for sorting out where you left the car in a parking garage, as you can already see the car before FindMy can lock in on the tag. It's more useful for on-street parking and being able to occasionally check in to see if the car is still where I left it. I also have a transmission immobilizer that requires advanced training not only to start the car, but also to get it moving and keep it going. Most thieves will just look in the car, see the immobilizer controls and move on. (Some people call it a stick-shift). 
    kingofsomewherehotwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,597member
    If you believe TV shows like "FBI", all the police need is your license plate number, and if the car is a recent model and "has GPS", the FBI can instantly track the location of your vehicle. They do this in nearly every episode of FBI. Therefore, Apple Tags won't help the police at all.

    polarizewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,369member
    It seems they don’t differ. The NYC handed out AirTags and told people if their car is stolen to immediately contact police. In NYC and San Antonio the police are delivering the same message. 
    It seems they do. One hands them out, one says don't use them. I'd call that an obvious and profound difference. That they both rightly say don't get directly involved call the police, doesn't change that.

    JP234 said:
    You're always right to defend your home. 
    That's an overly broad statement and not correct without a lot of qualification. So much so that "always" is a bad choice. Stated as such it falls into the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" category. But I agree with making a home more resistant to burglars and invasion.

    I'm unfamiliar with solid fiberglass doors but to possible caveats come to mind. One is the door jamb is traditionally the weakest part of any entryway. Unless the door is properly framed in the first place even the typical recommendation of 4"+ screws can fall short.

    With a sufficiently reinforced jam and 'glass door could Fire personnel enter? How's it respond to a strongly swung axe? Like I said I have no experience with this type of door.

    I doubt that most police departments actually investigate the majority of car thefts unless it is associated with a more serious crime where someone’s safety or life were endangered.

    I don't know about most but there have been a lot of news articles nationwide about police recovering someone's iPhone or iPad using Find My without the criminal every harming the victim. There have been a number of false alarms but that hasn't completely stopped police involvement.

    But as far as 'Tagging your car, the ability to tell the police "my car is at _____" especially if it's occupied makes the job pretty easy for them. Just hang back and don't approach the crook and stay on the phone with the police. That's no guarantee that they'll get there in time but it's much better than risking your life over property. Or being arrested because you mistakenly (or deliberately) cross the line from good guy to bad guy.

  • Reply 7 of 14
    macgui said:
    It seems they don’t differ. The NYC handed out AirTags and told people if their car is stolen to immediately contact police. In NYC and San Antonio the police are delivering the same message. 
    It seems they do. One hands them out, one says don't use them. I'd call that an obvious and profound difference. That they both rightly say don't get directly involved call the police, doesn't change that.

    FTA: “Vehicles are also being stolen in San Antonio, Texas, but police urge caution when using Apple's tracking technology.” 

    To me that doesn’t read as “don’t use them”. 

    “Victims may be tempted to use an AirTag to track their vehicle to the thief's location to confront them, but that can be dangerous. Instead, victims of vehicle thefts should report the crime to the police as soon as possible, said officer Ricardo Guzman, a spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department.”

    That’s the same message as NYC is giving. Don’t confront thieves, call the police. This article contains no quotes from anyone in San Antonio saying not to use an AirTag. The closest it gets is saying people might be tempted to confront someone, but don’t do that. 

    EDIT: Here’s the headline of the linked article: “San Antonio police urge discretion, caution in using AirTags to combat vehicle theft”

    Again, that article says nothing about not using AirTags. 

    I stand by my first statement that these two police departments do not differ. 
    edited May 2023 ronnlolliverFileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 14
    ajminnjajminnj Posts: 40member
    Kia is now offering the software upgrade too. I just received my notification yesterday. They did say that if you have a remote start, the upgrade is incompatible with it and requires more time to develop a compatible upgrade. 
  • Reply 9 of 14
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,769member
    JP234 said:
    macgui said:
    It seems they don’t differ. The NYC handed out AirTags and told people if their car is stolen to immediately contact police. In NYC and San Antonio the police are delivering the same message. 
    It seems they do. One hands them out, one says don't use them. I'd call that an obvious and profound difference. That they both rightly say don't get directly involved call the police, doesn't change that.

    JP234 said:
    You're always right to defend your home. 
    That's an overly broad statement and not correct without a lot of qualification. So much so that "always" is a bad choice. Stated as such it falls into the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" category. But I agree with making a home more resistant to burglars and invasion.

    I'm unfamiliar with solid fiberglass doors but to possible caveats come to mind. One is the door jamb is traditionally the weakest part of any entryway. Unless the door is properly framed in the first place even the typical recommendation of 4"+ screws can fall short.

    With a sufficiently reinforced jam and 'glass door could Fire personnel enter? How's it respond to a strongly swung axe? Like I said I have no experience with this type of door.

    I doubt that most police departments actually investigate the majority of car thefts unless it is associated with a more serious crime where someone’s safety or life were endangered.

    I don't know about most but there have been a lot of news articles nationwide about police recovering someone's iPhone or iPad using Find My without the criminal every harming the victim. There have been a number of false alarms but that hasn't completely stopped police involvement.

    But as far as 'Tagging your car, the ability to tell the police "my car is at _____" especially if it's occupied makes the job pretty easy for them. Just hang back and don't approach the crook and stay on the phone with the police. That's no guarantee that they'll get there in time but it's much better than risking your life over property. Or being arrested because you mistakenly (or deliberately) cross the line from good guy to bad guy.

    Anyone determined enough to invade your home by taking an axe to your door is not going to be stopped by failing to get in that way. It's an extreme scenario that will never happen. Criminals will look elsewhere before creating that kind of scene, especially given that they can see surveillance cameras at multiple households in the area, including the one above the reinforced door. And the alarm system. And the dog. And the doorbell camera, monitored by the alarm company. If the aim is to do you harm, they'll just wait until you're a softer target when you leave your fortress!
     Yeah, I’m pretty sure he was referring to the “fire personnel” with that axe question.
    JP234
  • Reply 10 of 14
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,654member
    Dooofus said:
    I believe it is in the interest of the police to encourage AirTag use. They get credit for solving car thefts without having to doing the traditional police work it would take to track down the thieves.
    What makes you think the police actively try to solve car thefts?   They don’t, at least not in NYC.   If they stop a car for other reasons, they’ll run the plates to check if it’s stolen (or if you have unpaid tickets), but that’s all they do.  

    Years ago, when my car was stolen, the police insinuated that I must have forgotten where I parked it.  A few years before that when my daughter’s car was stolen, the cops came over and were very nice, but they said the chances of recovering the car were near zero.  

    I thought we could track it to a certain extent via the EZPass, but it wasn’t used. The thieves must have been smart enough to dump it.  




    sandor
  • Reply 11 of 14
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,971member
    Guess Apple is too woke for Texas. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    The problem with AirTags is that the thieves will see alerts about an AirTag following them on an iPhone or Android phone with the Apple software installed.  They will then locate the tag and remove it. The experienced thieves will quickly adapt to share this information.

    What happens to a car that is stolen?

    1. It's stolen specifically to use for criminal activity such as a robbery, drive-by shooting, etc.
    2. It's stolen to strip it for parts ala Chop Shop
    3. It's stolen and transported and shipped overseas where it's sold with many others
    4. It's stolen for a joy ride then ditched somewhere and torched
    5. It's stolen for some sort of short term transportation need and simply abandoned but often handed off to other criminals, etc.  Why pay for Uber / Lyft when you can just swipe a car and ditch it.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    sandorsandor Posts: 659member
    worked in 1993
    works in 2023.

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