ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Auto thefts in Rockford have jumped 81% over last year, according to new statistics released by the Rockford Police Department.
So far in 2022, 458 car thefts have been reported, compared to 253 in the same time period last year.
Over the past weekend, the Winnebago County Sheriff said 10 cars had been stolen, by suspects as young as 10-years-old. Police attributed the rise in car thefts to a social media trend targeting certain Kia and Hyundai models.
Police said certain 2011-2021 Kia models and 2015-2021 Hyundai models have a security flaw that kids, following a “Kia Boyz” or “Kia Challenge” TikTok trend, are able to exploit using a USB cable.
Police recently urged residents to install a steering wheel lock or other anti-theft devices on their vehicles.
However, statistics show that violent crime is on the decline, dropping 2% year-over-year, with “shots fired” calls, aggravated assaults, and domestic violence crimes all reported lower than last year.