Onondaga County on Pace For Record Number of Cars Stolen Onondaga County on Pace For Record Number of Cars Stolen

Rickie Potts, Reporter: Car theft is a rising problem over the past few years in Onondaga County. Local resident Mike Williams says these crimes from the shift in culture in America.

Mike Williams, Syracuse Resident: “I think at the end of the day people, like I said, I think are opportunistic. I think people look for, to do things easy and quick and want instant gratification. I think there’s a direct correlation between where we are as a society based on things like smart phones and instant dopamine and drugs.”

Rickie Potts, Reporter: This change in society may be a cause in the county’s rise in car theft, but Williams also encourages people to be proactive about protecting their valuables.

Mike Williams, Syracuse Resident: “If you are driving your vehicle and you choose to leave it running to keep it warm while you go inside to pick up your takeout food in a poor area of town where your car can get stolen, I think there’s got to be a level of accountability there.”

Rickie Potts, Reporter: So far in 2024, there have been more than 100 stolen vehicles in Onondaga County. Rickie Potts, NCC News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga County witnessed a record-breaking 1,506 vehicles stolen from Jan. 1 to Nov. 15 in 2023. Through the first five weeks of 2024, car thefts rose 71% in the area with 113 stolen cars in January and the first week of February, according to Syracuse police. Many of these reported crimes are coming from the county’s youth, with some culprits ranging from the ages of 12 to 17.

Local resident Mike Williams expressed his thoughts on the ongoing situation, saying  that as juveniles, “they don’t make the right choices.” Williams described the threat of stolen cars as part of a larger problem in America. “It seems like it’s cool and they stand out amongst their peers. And in that culture, it’s acceptable” Williams said.

In 2023, 903 Kias and Hyundais were stolen in Onondaga County, with partial credit being given to the popular “Kia Boys” trend on TikTok. Certain models of these car brands are not equipped with an anti-theft device that makes them difficult to steal.

Syracuse police Lieutenant Matthew Malinowski said in an interview that, in addition to locking their vehicles,  Kia and Hyundai owners need to contact their dealerships about confirming whether they need to fix this problem. “A lot of these dealerships are doing it for free” Malinowski said.

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