By Larry Compton
Based on a multi-year crime data analysis published on Jan. 17, CPNO Safety conducted an in-depth analysis of 2023 motor vehicle thefts. Our reporting is driven by the large statistical increase in vehicle thefts experienced in Candler Park. In support of this analysis, CPNO Communications submitted an Open Records Act request to the Atlanta Police Department for each report of a stolen vehicle in Candler Park. Thanks to a quick response by APD, I can update you on important trends in stolen vehicles.
Our previous article listed 21 motor vehicle theft incidents in 2023. A close examination of each report showed that of these 21 incidents, 17 counted as significant. Other incidents included e-bike/scooter thefts or stolen vehicles that were found abandoned. Of the 17 significant incidents, five involved serious damage to the vehicle doors and/or windows along with steering column damage. These five are also included in the tally of motor vehicle thefts even though the vehicle was not physically relocated.
Throughout 2023, the Atlanta Police Department warned residents that Kia and Hyundai vehicles are targets for theft due to known manufacturer vulnerabilities. Major Andrea Webster, the Zone 6 commander, wrote in an recent email that, “some prevention tips are to store key fobs as far away from parked vehicles as possible (or to use a signal-blocking bag), and – especially for Kia and Hyundai owners – use an immobilization device such as the CLUB and contact the dealership to have free electronic security patches installed. And, of course, cameras almost always help!”
See the chart in Figure 1 for a breakout of incidents by make. Of 17 incidents of theft or steering column damage, 13 targeted Kia or Hyundai vehicles.
These numbers show that our neighborhood increase in stolen vehicle incidents is entirely due to criminal targeting of Kia and Hyundai models. In addition, all incidents except one occurred overnight; likely in the early morning hours between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. The model years for impacted Kia/Hyundai cars ranged from 2006 to 2021. If you own this vehicle type, consider countermeasures like a wheel lock and consult the manufacturer for fixes and software updates. Also, please inform guests parking overnight of this issue.
As always, your feedback on this analysis or any other safety concern is welcome – please contact email@example.com.
Larry Compton is the safety officer for the CPNO.