Apple's AirTag is the NYPD's big plan to deal with car thefts

AirTag on keychain
(Image credit: Future)

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has told people to go out and buy themselves an AirTag if they want to be able to get their car back when it's stolen. The suggestion comes amid spiraling auto theft rates in the city.

Apple's AirTag is generally accepted to be one of the best Bluetooth item trackers around, but it was never intended to be used to help locate a missing vehicle. That isn't stopping the NYPD from telling people to use the little tracker that way.

To help drive the point home a New York nonprofit is even handing out 500 free AirTags to car owners in an attempt to ensure fewer cars go missing for good.

"Grand larceny auto continues to drive up crime in the city"

Vehicle theft in New York City is up 13% this year according to reports by ABC7NY and AppleInsider. With almost 4,500 vehicles reported stolen so far, drivers are looking for ways to get their wheels back even if they can't stop them from being stolen in the first place. In the Bronx alone 24% more vehicles have been stolen this year compared to 2022, but AirTags are the answer according to the NYPD.

"Your phone will be alerted. You know someone's in your car who's not supposed to be, and/or it's stolen," NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell reportedly said. "You call 911 as fast as you can. You tell the officers involved 'I have an AirTag,' and they will immediately with citywide apprehension apparatus will start putting that tag citywide."

The nonprofit, Association for a Better New York (ABNY), has donated 500 AirTags to help people find their stolen vehicles.

It isn't just the NYPD that's figured out AirTags can help them find stolen vehicles. Police in the UK made a similar suggestion last year. However, the NYPD itself found itself on the receiving end of an AirTag after Apple's tracker was used to track the whereabouts of one of its own cars.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Annie_M
    This makes good sense, especially for owners of Kia and Hyundai vehicles!
  • Up_And_Away
    But doesn’t this condone AirTags? A product known to be a social scourge on society by causing mass stalking? Oh wait, that’s right, imore and the rest of the tech media has moved on from that previously repeated clickbait . Never mind…😂