KIA owners can update anti-theft software for free this weekend

Free KIA pop-up service center to fix design flaw

Free KIA pop-up service center to fix design flaw

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A nationwide effort to crack down on stolen Kia models is taking place in downtown Rochester starting Friday.

The automaker is working with Monroe County’s law enforcement agencies to host an event where people can upgrade their car’s anti-theft software. The event will be at Monroe Community College’s downtown campus on Friday through Sunday. It runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at Lot CC on Morrie Silver Way near Innovative Field.

Here are Kia models that are eligible for the free upgrade: Forte 2014-2021, K5 2021-2022, Optima 2011-2020, Rio 2012-2021, Sedona 2011-2021, Sportage 2011-2022, Soul 2020-2022, Seltos 2021-2022.

Hyundai is also hosting an anti-theft software upgrade event in Rochester on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18. The automaker’s website doesn’t specify where the event will take place and we’ll share more details once they’re available.

Here are Hyundai models that will be eligible for the free upgrade: Accent 2018-2022, Elantra 2017-2022, Elantra GT 2013-2020, Genesis Coupe 2013-2014, Kona 2018-2022, Palisade 2020-2021, Santa Fe 2013-2022, Santa Fe Sport 2013-2018, Santa Fe XL 2019, Sonata 2011-2019, Tuscon 2011-2022, Veloster 2012-2017 & 2019-2021.

Local leaders have raised alarms about an increase in thefts for Kia and Hyundai models because of how-to videos circulating on social media such as TikTok. Leaders also say the two automakers failed to add proper anti-theft technology to many of its models, making the cars easy to hotwire with a USB cable.

Just how badly are these upgrades needed? News10NBC rarely goes a night without hearing reports of stolen cars on the police scanner in the newsroom.

When Gov. Hochul came to Rochester in August, she said that car thefts in Rochester jumped by 829% since the same time last year. The county as a whole saw a 345% increase which Hochul said was the largest in the nation.

In June, there was an average of 12 cars a day stolen in the city. News10NBC reported that those numbers took a nose dive in September, with the month finishing out at about half of June’s stolen car total.

Rochester Police say the decline could be attributed to multiple factors including the county’s Juvenile Enhanced Diversion Stabilization program. The JEDS program holds kids who would otherwise be let go on an appearance ticket and gets them in services to try and stop repeat offenders. Other factors could include increased public awareness, steering wheel locks, and car owners getting security upgrades.

Stolen Kia crashes into Montage Music Hall (WHEC file photo)