Numbers of cars being stolen in Rochester decreasing

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester Police say while Kia, and Hyundai cars are still being stolen in the city, the number of car thefts is starting to drop over the past few weeks. News10NBC takes an in-depth look at some of the numbers and found out why they’re heading in a positive direction.

Police agencies here in both the City of Rochester, and Monroe County have led an aggressive campaign to not only combat this problem, but also help owners better protect their cars.

“So far, about year to date, we’ve had about 539, just over 500 Kias, and Hyundais were stolen within the City of Rochester,” said Lt. Greg Bello.

We’re almost 11 weeks into the new year and recently the numbers of Kias, and Hyundais being stolen is dropping a bit. Police say during the month of February about 168 Kias, and Hyundais were stolen over a two week period.

“To put that in comparison, last week we had just over 40 vehicles. So, about half, stolen in the City of Rochester, which is great to have that decline,” said Bello.

He says numbers first started to drop when anti-theft steering wheel locks were handed out by different police agencies. 

“February 14th actually is when we began offering steering wheel lock devices to Kia and Hyundai owners. So that first week that we put them out in the middle of February, we handed out approximately 500 devices in a matter of two days,” said Bello.

The drop in car thefts also follows the arrests of several teens who police say were responsible for several smash-and-grabs incidents in the city. Bello also says working with other police agencies in neighboring communities helped, and he credits the role of local media for keeping the story on the forefront. 

“They’ve been doing stories and bringing awareness of how to safely store your Kia or Hyundai as well. Whether that means parking in a garage. Whether it means blocking it with other vehicles. Different efforts that people could take to protect their Kias or Hyundais, as well, from being stolen,” said Bello.

Kia Jackson’s 2020 Kia was stolen back on February 12th. Little consolation for her as her car is still waiting to be repaired.

“That’s a good thing that the numbers are going down a bit, but it’s for the people whose suffering. Like we come out, we work for our things, and then you feel so violated. You come outside, and your vehicle is gone,” said Jackson.

Since February 14, RPD has handed out over 900 anti-theft steering wheel locks for both Kia and Hyundai owners.