D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser launches a program offering AirTags to residents in car theft-prone neighborhoods, using Apple’s Find My technology to help locate stolen vehicles.
The new program aims to reduce car theft in high-risk areas by distributing free Apple AirTags. They will be given out at three events, and residents must provide proof of residency and an eligible police service area address.
Although the Acting police chief, Pamela Smith, did not mention the number of AirTags to be distributed, the inspiration for this program came from New York City Mayor Eric Adams. He led a similar initiative earlier in the year, distributing 500 AirTags and effectively locating stolen vehicles.
During the distribution events, D.C. police officers will assist residents in installing and registering the tags on their phones. The AirTag’s location will not be accessible to the police; instead, residents will have to share the information from Find My with law enforcement if their car is stolen.
This initiative is the latest in a series of anti-theft and theft-prevention measures taken by the city, as motor vehicle theft has surged by 101% compared to the previous year. D.C. has recorded over 5,800 motor vehicle thefts as of November 1, prompting innovative efforts to combat the issue. While the AirTags may not prevent theft, they are expected to increase the chances of solving cases and apprehending repeat offenders involved in criminal activities.
While AirTags have been use to track vehicles in places like New York City, not all law enforcement agrees that this is the best possible solution. Law enforcement in San Antonio is advising against using AirTags to track stolen vehicles, as victims may be tempted to confront thieves at their location, resulting in dangerous situations.