City of Chicago Sues Kia and Hyundai Over Rise in Auto Thefts
Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson recently announced that the City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai, alleging that a defect in their car designs on multiple vehicles make auto thefts easier. Mayor Johnson attributes that leading to a sharp increase in the amount of auto thefts of these particular vehicles throughout the city, from around 500 in the first half of 2022 to over 8,350 during the second half of that year. The alleged defect has also led to over half the vehicles stolen in 2023 in Chicago being produced by the two car manufacturers since the alleged defect was detailed in a viral video on social media in 2022. The lawsuit claims that their failure to include engine immobilizers on their vehicles entry level models has disproportionately affected low-income to middle income Chicago residents, violating consumer protection laws, and seeks restitution to reimburse the City for expenses incurred as a result of the thefts, provide some economic relief for those affected by thefts, and induce the companies to fix the alleged flaws in their design.
Illinois Lawmakers to Compel Car Manufacturers to Set Up 24 Hour Hotline
The Illinois General Assembly recently passed a bill that would require car manufacturers to establish a 24-hour hotline that would allow law enforcement agencies to track stolen cars. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart assisted in the language of the bill, claiming that although “virtually every car from 2015 has tracking capacity” companies often are uncooperative with his agency and make it difficult to get a quick response or the information they need. In addition to the proposed measure, the Illinois legislature recently granted $21 million in additional funding to various law enforcement agencies to address the rising problem of auto thefts in the state. Such measures show that law enforcement and elected officials consider the problem to be serious and increased enforcement is a priority of public policy at the local and state levels.
Federal, State and local law enforcement have continued to make the rise in and prosecution of vehicular hijacking crimes a top priority.