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Sheriff - News & Announcements

Posted on: November 15, 2023

WCSO Working to Reduce Vehicle Theft

FREE Steering Wheel lock Image

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed these two manufacturers reported 2.7 stolen vehicle claims per 1,000 insured vehicles in the second half of 2021. This number was nearly double the theft claim frequency for ALL other vehicle makes (approximately 1.4 per 1,000 insured) in that same time.

A nationwide trend that started on social media in 2021 only increased the theft rates. The trend showed the “Kia Boyz” demonstrating how easy it is to use a USB cord to start Kias and Hyundais and drive away with them. To help prevent the theft of these cars, the manufacturers came to an agreement to push out new security measures. Part of this agreement is the distribution of steering wheel locks to customers who own specific years and models within those makes.

To reduce thefts of these vehicles, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office reached out to both manufacturers and requested steering wheel locks to distribute to residents in the county and received a limited supply to distribute. Due to supply limits, steering wheel locks will be given on a first-come first-served basis. If a resident owns one of the vehicles listed below, they may go to their local WCSO station to collect their free steering wheel lock (addresses also listed below). The WCSO is asking owners to have their registration information and ID available at the time of pickup.

Below are the addresses for the stations with steering wheel locks available:

  • Station 2: 1501 S Huron St, Ypsilanti MI 48197
  • Station 3: 8140 Main St, Dexter MI 48130
  • Station 4: 912 City Street, Manchester MI 48158
  • Station 5: 11560 Stony Creek Rd, Milan MI 48160
  • Station 6: 3040 N Prospect, Ypsilanti MI 48198
  • Station 7: 1055 N Zeeb Rd, Ann Arbor MI 48103

These steering wheel locks are intended to reduce the likelihood of theft and attempted theft of these makes/models. A steering wheel lock gives a visual to the potential thieves showing even if they were to break in, the vehicle is immobilized. We also encourage owners to have the security updates installed.

The steering wheel lock we are distributing is a bar construction that has a hook on each end that attaches to the steering wheel. Once in place, the user engages the lock so the steering wheel cannot be turned. To override a properly installed steering wheel lock, time would have to be taken to either pick the lock or tools would be necessary to cut through the bar to release the steering wheel. Both would take a significant amount of time and are a deterrent to potential thieves.

Vehicles included in the wheel lock program:

Hyundai

  • 2018-2022 Accent 2011-2020 Optima
  • 2011-2022 Elantra 2011-2022 Sorento
  • 2013-2020 Elantra GT 2011-2021 Forte
  • 2018-2022 Kona 2020-2022 Soul
  • 2013-2022 Santa Fe 2012-2021 Rio
  • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport 2011-2021 Sedona
  • 2019 Santa Fe XL 2021-2022 Seltos
  • 2011-2019 Sonata 2021-2022 K5
  • 2011-2022 Tucson 2011-2022 Sportage
  • 2012-2017 Velostar
  • 2019-2021 Velostar
  • 2020-2021 Venue
  • 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe
  • 2020-2021 Palisade

KIA

  • 2011-2020 Optima
  • 2011-2022 Sorento
  • 2011-2021 Forte
  • 2020-2022 Soul
  • 2012-2021 Rio
  • 2011-2021 Sedona
  • 2021-2022 Seltos
  • 2021-2022 K5
  • 2011-2022 Sportage

Both manufacturers have also pushed out security upgrades for the listed vehicles that can be installed free of charge at your local Hyundai or Kia dealerships. For additional information on resources available to owners, please visit the links below.

Hyundai Motor America and Kia America Resolve Consumer Litigation in Response to Vehicle Thefts - Hyundai Newsroom

https://ksupport.kiausa.com/ConsumerAffairs/SWLD

 HyundaiAntiTheft.com

Additional resources:

https://www.iihs.org/media/0e14ba17-a3c2-4375-8e66-081df9101ed2/opm7QA/HLDI%20Research/Bulletins/hldi_bulletin_38-28.pdf

To view printable version of this press release - click here!

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