Chicago’s South and West sides have seen the most Kias and Hyundais stolen this year

Theresa McKinney’s ability to assist her many dependent loved ones has suffered since the theft of her Kia Forte in October.

After the automobile was stolen, her husband’s leg was severed, and he had to delay rehabilitation therapy.

McKinney said the theft had a further negative effect on her capacity to care for her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother.

“Many people rely on me to safely drive this vehicle. It wasn’t merely a toy automobile. I have to conduct business there.

My automobile was a source of assistance for others, “According to what McKinney had to say. Say it with me: “It’s been a nightmare.”

In October, almost a thousand Kias were taken in Chicago, including McKinney’s. She did manage to retrieve it, but by that time, the loss had multiplied by four.

After losing her only means of transportation, the 58-year-old woman from West Lawn was fired from her work as a counselor for people with substance addiction issues.

“It’s annoying to have to frequently cancel plans. Furthermore, when you have people counting on you… Now you have even more stress in your life, “The words of McKinney.

About 3,500 Kias and Hyundais were stolen collectively throughout the city, accounting for approximately 38% of all vehicle thefts.

The Illinois Secretary of State reports that of the 36,300 Kias and 53,500 Hyundais registered in Chicago, roughly 10% of each were stolen in the past year.

1,500 automobile thefts have occurred since November of this year, and that doesn’t count the 86 Hyundais and 62 Kias that have been stolen. This information was obtained through a public documents request from the police.

Many people in Chicago and other U.S. locations have lost their Kias and Hyundais because of hacking techniques demonstrated in TikTok videos for vehicles without engine immobilizers.

Some people have started calling auto burglars “Kia guys” because of their ability to break into vehicles and start them using only a screwdriver and a USB charger.

Chicago’s South and West sides have been struck particularly hard since the summer, and as a result, car thefts have risen to their worst level in almost a decade, with over 19,000 vehicles taken as of last month (CBS 2 review of police data).

Chicago is not alone; thefts of Kias and Hyundais have increased by 95% since last November. The theft of motor vehicles has increased by 36% in San Antonio, 27% in Philadelphia, and 7% in Los Angeles over the past year.

Many other Midwestern cities have also been affected. Among the 8,066 stolen vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, this year, 42% were Kias and Hyundais, according to information provided by City Attorney Zach Klein.

Last month, Klein hinted that he would sue Kia and Hyundai for allegedly using inferior materials.

In an email to CBS 2, Klein added, “The victims of these crimes are not CEOs and executives, but rather teachers and servers, retail clerks, and nurses—people whose lives have been upended.”

KSDK reports that this pattern continued in Missouri, with car thefts in St. Louis increasing by 70% over the previous year.

Tishaura Jones, mayor of St. Louis, has requested that the car companies issue a recall so that anti-theft systems can be installed. She threatened to sue the businesses when they refused.

A representative for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined to say if the city would take comparable legal action.

Some attorneys are proceeding with class action actions against Korean automakers even as federal attorneys consider filing suit.

Matthew Van Fleet, of MLG Attorneys, said, “This is about Hyundai and Kia placing profits over public safety.”

A law firm in California has filed a class action lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai, and several customers in Chicago have joined the suit.

According to Van Fleet, the problem stems from the company’s reluctance to adopt technology that has been available to the market since at least the 1990s.

The suit claims that Kias and Hyundais made between 2011 and 2021, were fitted with traditional key ignitions that were purposefully made without engine immobilizers.

Van Fleet predicted this would be “one of the largest class action cases this country has ever seen.”

One of the claimants is a woman from Chicago who had her Kia Optima taken twice in one day in September.

The cops took the car to get it fixed after discovering the damage. The victim, who asked not to be identified, received a call from the repair shop later that day to report that their vehicle had been stolen in front of the establishment.

The lawsuit further states that the average cost to replace damaged windows, steering columns, and other components of recovered vehicles is over $10,000.

Thefts have caused a shortage of replacement components, which has pushed back repair schedules and increased associated expenses.

McKinney, whose car was taken and consequently lost her employment, filed a class action lawsuit.

She reported that there were problems and delays in getting her automobile fixed when it was retrieved.

“Due to widespread theft, production had to delay delivery of the necessary components.

Since the steering column was temporarily unavailable, “According to what McKinney had to say. She said that Kia refused to give her a replacement vehicle or accept her trade-in.

“They gave us zero assistance,” she stated. Both Kia and Hyundai, when contacted for comment, issued comments expressing continued worry about the thefts but declining to comment on whether or not a recall will be issued.

Kia spokesman James Bell expressed worry in an email to CBS 2 about a recent trend among adolescents in some regions, encouraged by social media, to target specific Kia vehicles equipped with a steel key and a “turn-to-start” ignition system.

While it is true that no automobile can be made totally theft-proof, Kia continues to make steering wheel locks accessible to consumers through interested local law enforcement organizations, at no cost to concerned owners of these vehicles.

However, there have been occasions when Chicago Police have distributed anti-theft wheel locks, and it is unclear how many were provided.

Hyundai also said that owners of impacted vehicles could acquire a glass break sensor security kit from Hyundai dealerships and authorized installers, in addition to the steering locks already provided.

However, the business indicated it would not cover the cost of the $170 kit or the labor to install it. Both businesses have promised to release software updates in the near future in an effort to fix the problems.

Meanwhile, there is rising momentum to act. Cars stolen in one crime are frequently used in another.

On Monday, a stolen Hyundai crashed into the rear of a truck near Lincoln Square, igniting the vehicle.

On Wednesday, police announced charges against four people they apprehended after that incident, all of whom they believe to be involved in a series of thefts on the city’s northwest side.

These occurrences cast a pall on an increasingly likely scenario: In recent months, thousands of people in areas that may benefit from more public transportation have found themselves unable to travel to work or drop off their children at school.

Low-income people and communities of color have been hit most by the recent decline in available modes of transportation.

According to Van Fleet, the lawyer leading the class action complaint against the automakers, “I would say that the demographic of our class [action] is lower to middle-class persons, minorities… they make up probably 80 to 85% of our course [action].

That is supported by data. The majority of Kia and Hyundai thefts in Chicago have occurred in primarily Black neighborhoods, and 97% of those instances have had investigations halted.

There has been a similar downward trend in other areas, with only 350 of nearly 19,000 reported car thefts being solved and resolved so far in 2018.

The police department really needed to demonstrate to the public that they were making progress on armed robbery cases, so the press conference came as excellent news.

Concerns about violent crime, which is up roughly 1% from last year but still lower than in 2019, have been exacerbated by the current spate of robberies.

An already overworked and understaffed service has not been helped by the increasing number of vehicle thefts.

Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain a comment from the Chicago Police Department for this article.

Indeed, McKinney shares this feeling. “I still don’t feel secure in the vehicle, and I just got it back from them. My entire sense of safety has been violated.

My sense of safety has been violated. This is terrible, “that’s what she stated. “Sometimes, I have to sneak a glimpse to see if my automobile is still outside. You shouldn’t be acting like that.”

Source: CBS News

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