CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island is one of nearly two dozen states calling on both Kia and Hyundai manufacturers to take action to prevent car thefts.
Last week, Cranston police put out a warning that there has been a recent spike in attempted thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the Edgewood neighborhood.
Just last year, police in Providence were experiencing the same thing and dealt with more than a dozen thefts.
Now Attorney General Peter Neronha is joining attorney generals from across the country to petition the car companies to take action.
“In 2015, Anti-theft immobilizers were standard equipment on 96% of other manufacturers’ vehicles. But Kia and Hyundai had immobilizers on only 26% of their vehicles,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said.
AG Neronha and his counterparts in Connecticut and Massachusetts have signed a letter to Kia and Hyundai manufacturers asking them to install the same anti-theft immobilizers that are standard on other vehicles.
Without the anti-theft devices, late model Hyundais and Kias that use a traditional key are easy to hotwire, making them easier to steal. Authorities say stolen vehicles are often used in crimes but are harder to connect to suspects.
Cranston police are urging residents with similar vehicles to install some form of anti-theft device and gave some examples:
- Audible and Visible Devices: These devices, such as a horn alarm, deter theft by bringing attention to an unauthorized attempt to steal or enter a vehicle. Visible devices create a visual threat/warning/deterrence, such as the use of steering-wheel locks, as well as theft-deterrent decals, flashing lights, and window etching.
- Immobilizing-Type Devices: These prevent thieves from bypassing a vehicle`s ignition system and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some incorporate computer chips in ignition keys or disable the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine.
- Vehicle Recovery Systems: These devices use electronic transmission technology that help law enforcement reveal the location of stolen vehicles and possibly catch the thief in the act.