Community Op-Ed: Slamming the Brakes on Car Theft

Not only is New York the greatest city in the world, it is the safest big city in America. Since day one of this administration, public safety has been our priority. And for the last 20 months, we have delivered on our promise to drive down crime. Our precision policing model is working.

Our streets, neighborhoods, and subways are safer. In almost every major category, crime is down.  Shootings have declined 26 % for the year, homicides are down nearly 10%, and transit crime is down over 4% for the year.

This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the NYPD. Every day, they are making our city safer—and New Yorkers can feel the results. They feel safer.

But we can always do more and one category we are zeroing in on is Grand Larceny Auto, or as many New Yorkers know it by, car theft. This year, Grand Larceny Auto has gone up by 19%, and a whopping 24% in August alone.

This is not the video game Grand Theft Auto, this is real life. Car theft has real consequences for those stealing cars and poses a real danger for innocent New Yorkers on our streets.

Especially our young people. Since September 2022, 51% of those arrested for Grand Theft Larceny have been under the age of 18, and more than 88% are aged 25 and under.

We want to protect our car owners and prevent our young people from going further down the wrong path.

That’s why we are taking action to slam the brakes on car theft.

Last week, we announced a comprehensive suite of policies to tackle car theft in this city. And just like we are doing with gun violence, we are taking a holistic 360-degree approach.

That means enhanced enforcement along with education, partnerships, and outreach to our communities.

Each police precinct across the city will now have a vehicle dedicated to combatting car thefts that will be on patrol 24/7. They will be able to flag vehicles that have been reported stolen or missing so that our officers on patrol can respond swiftly.

We will also deploy additional investigators to identify trends in vehicle-related crimes and stop violent crimes that involve the use of a stolen vehicle.

And we are partnering with car dealerships across the city to proactively educate buyers about car theft and how to better protect their vehicle, as well as fixing the problem in Kia and Hyundai vehicles that has led to social media car theft challenges.

We are also extending our outreach to young people by working with violence interrupters, school administrators, and others to deter them from car theft.

Car theft is often a crime of opportunity, and New Yorkers can do some easy things to prevent it. It may sound simple, but don’t forget to lock your doors, never leave your keys in your vehicle overnight, and don’t get out of your vehicle and leave the engine running.

New Yorkers shouldn’t have to wonder whether their car will be where they left it. Car thieves do not have a license to steal in this city. And they should know that the law and New York City is coming for them.

We have recovered 99 percent of pre-pandemic private sector jobs lost, subway ridership is up, tourists are filling our Broadway theaters, and spending money across the five boroughs. This is progress. And this administration is making sure that New York City remains the safest big city in America.

Mayor Eric Adams


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