CRIME BLOTTER

Bellevue Police handing out steering wheel locks to curb uptick in stolen cars

Apr 29, 2024, 10:43 AM

steering wheel lock...

A photo shows a steering wheel lock of a car in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, June 6, 2023. (Photo: Celal Gunes, Getty Images)

(Photo: Celal Gunes, Getty Images)

Bellevue Police is cracking down on car theft with the department, in tandem with the city, by giving away more than a thousand steering wheel locks to prevent an uptick in stolen cars.

“The reason why this started is because there was a tick-tock trend,” Bellevue Police Spokesperson Drew Anderson said. “Everyone loves TikTok and they saw a lot of folks on TikTok showing how easy it is to steal Kias and Hyundais. So the Bellevue Police decided to get more proactive because we are a police force that likes to try to prevent as much crime as possible.”

More on steering wheel locks: Hyundai owners were able to get free anti-theft software updates

“They provided steering locks to us to where we have been providing folks who want to be proactive in protecting their vehicle to come get a lock and take that extra measure to help them be proactive for their cars,” Anderson added.

Before last Saturday’s event, Bellevue Police passed out more than 700 locks. The weekend before, more than 310 were distributed.

Do steering wheel locks prevent theft?

When it comes to stealing a car, time is of the essence and a steering wheel lock dramatically extends the time required, according to Bellevue Police.

“It’s definitely a preventative measure,” Anderson said, referencing the process of sawing off the steering wheel lock.

The Bellevue Police Department is currently in the process of planning another lock giveaway that is going to be announced next month. Drivers wanting a steering wheel lock can use a QR code to get in contact about the opportunity to upgrade their car.

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“We definitely did notice that there are groups like the “Kia Boyz” who are roaming not only Bellevue, but across the region targeting vulnerable vehicles and stealing cars whenever they want to go on joyride specifically,” Anderson said. “I think for us, the Bellevue Police, we definitely decided to be more proactive by announcing a vehicle task force where we do our own research.

“We decided to go after the folks that were really participating in those high-volume thefts across the area,” Anderson continued. “It has been going with moderate success, and it’s been definitely a program that we’re going to definitely continue until we see more thefts decrease in the area.”

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here. 

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