As car thefts continue to surge in Chicago, Democratic leaders have taken legal action against automakers Kia and Hyundai.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies failed to install standard anti-theft technology, which they knew was effective at deterring thieves. Chicago’s politicians contend that this lack of security has led to a significant increase in car thefts, with videos circulating online demonstrating how thieves can use USB plugs to start these cars.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D), who took office in May, has been criticized for the city’s spike in crime. Since his inauguration, overall crime has increased by 38 percent between May and June, with car thefts specifically seeing a rise of 153 percent compared to the previous year. Despite this, Johnson, who advocates for defunding the police, has not directly addressed these crime rates.
The city’s lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai is part of a wider trend of Democrats blaming automakers for increases in car thefts. Earlier this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) also criticized the car companies for not implementing anti-theft technology, despite the fact that property crime, homicides, and violent crime all saw an uptick during his first year in office.
New York City has joined the fray, suing Kia and Hyundai over what they describe as a “spiraling epidemic” of car thefts. However, representatives from both car companies have dismissed these lawsuits as baseless. Kia spokesman James Bell stated that government agencies had cleared the vehicles in question, and Hyundai spokesman Ira Gabriel highlighted the company’s ongoing efforts to update their anti-theft software.
The outcome of these lawsuits could potentially set a precedent for how car manufacturers are expected to address car theft in the future.