Facing a relentless surge in car thefts in parts of the state, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that her administration will pump money into law enforcement technology, youth diversion programs and a public awareness campaign to stop offenders in their tracks.
“To all the car thieves out there, I have one message: You’ve reached the end of your road,” Hochul said at a Friday press conference in Rochester.
This year saw an explosion of car thefts nationwide after a viral social media video exposed a security flaw in some Kia and Hyundai models that makes them easy to steal. But while numbers are now trending downward statewide, Rochester and Buffalo are still seeing “staggering” levels of theft, Hochul said.
Car thefts are up 345% in Monroe County compared to last year, she said. Erie County saw a 213% increase. New York City is up just 20%.
The thefts have left people with modest vehicles most at risk and are a danger to public safety, as many of the cars are driven away recklessly and crashed, Hochul said.
What is Gov. Hochul’s plan to curb car thefts?
On Friday, the governor announced a five-point initiative to combat car thefts:
Hochul’s administration will invest $50 million into law enforcement technology like surveillance cameras and gunshot detection equipment; $5 million will be reserved for Monroe County alone.
Another $5 million will fund intervention programs for young offenders statewide. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the local share of that funding will bolster work already started by the Juvenile Enhanced Diversion Stabilization program, which has introduced more supervision of and local services for young offenders while they await a court hearing.
New York State Police will ramp up enforcement in high-theft areas in coordination with local police departments, using a new state dashboard to track, map and analyze car thefts and suspects.
The state will convene a task force of district attorneys statewide to share strategies on how to ensure car thefts are prosecuted effectively.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles will soon send a letter to every registered Kia and Hyundai owner, urging them to get available security upgrades to protect their vehicle from theft.
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This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Kia, Hyundai car thefts in Rochester NY: Hochul plan for stopping it
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