EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police in East Providence are offering free steering wheel locks to Kia owners in an attempt to curb car thefts in the city.
In order to receive a free steering wheel lock, police said the vehicle must belong to someone who lives, works or attends school in East Providence.
While there hasn’t been an increase in Kia thefts in the city, Lt. Michael Raposa said there has been an uptick statewide.
The steering wheel locks are being handed out on a first come, first serve basis. Raposa tells 12 News the department received 100 steering wheel locks earlier this week and only have 20 or so left.
Those interested in receiving a free steering wheel lock must bring their license and vehicle registration with them to the police department, as well as a valid work or school ID if applicable.
Steering wheel locks are described as long metal bars designed to immobilize the wheel and prevent the car from being driven properly. The vast majority of steering wheel locks come with a key and can’t be easily removed without it.
There’s been a significant increase in car thefts nationwide connected to a social media trend targeting older Hyundai and Kia models. The thieves typically remove the trim under the steering wheel column and start the engine using a USB charging cable.
Police are urging Kia owners to not only consider a steering wheel lock, but also to take extra precautions to secure their vehicles, such as parking in well-lit areas, locking the doors and removing all valuables.
Anyone with questions on how to receive a free steering wheel lock can contact Sgt. Stephen Rodrigues at (401) 563-8984.