Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart says the Chicago area summer has seen a huge spike in car thefts -- specifically in Kia and Hyundai.
"Since July 1, there have been 642 reported thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles in Cook County," a press release from Thomas J. Dart's office said in a press release, "compared to 74 during the same period last year."
That's a 767% increase, the release said.
According to the Sheriff's office, videos on social media breaking down how to steal the cars appear to be at the center of the massive surge in thefts.
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"The increases are believed to be connected to the sharing of videos on social media that demonstrate how to start these vehicles without a key," the release continued.
Additionally the car thieves seem to be specifically targeting "unoccupied vehicles that require a physical key, not a starter button."
The Sheriff's office is encouraging owner of Kia and Hyundai vehicles to take steps to reduce the threat of theft, including:
- Installing a "kill switch" that renders a vehicle inoperable without a separate key
- Adding a car alarm with motion detection
- Installing a steering wheel locking device
- Installing a vehicle tracking system
Additionally, Kia and Hyundai owners are encouraged to fill out a consent form that allows them to receive vehicle identification stickers that can help investigators track the car should it be stolen.