A Detroit-area police department is handing out free steering wheel locks to residents who own a Kia or Hyundai vehicle, a practice more cities are implementing in an effort to prevent car thefts.
The St. Clair Shores Police Department said the initiative comes amid a recent rise in thefts of the two car models.
"To combat the recent rise in stolen KIA and Hyundai vehicles, our department reached out to KIA Corporate and were supplied with a limited amount of steering wheel locks," it said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Kia and Hyundai vehicles with Keyes ignition lack an immobilizer, making them easy to steal with a USB cable.
The automakers have been sending The Club locks to police departments across the country. The wheel locks come on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vehicle thefts have continued to pose a problem for law enforcement agencies. Last month, attorneys general from 18 states sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanding a recall of Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
"The bottom line is, Kia’s and Hyundai’s failure to install standard safety features on many of their vehicles have put vehicle owners and the public at risk," California Attorney General Rob Bonta said at the time. "Instead of taking responsibility with appropriate corrective action, these carmakers have chosen instead to pass this risk onto consumers and our communities."
Between 2011 and 2022, the companies chose not to include anti-theft devices that were a standard feature in almost every other new car manufactured during that time period, including the same Hyundai and Kia models sold in Canada and Europe, Bonta's office said.