NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The number of car thefts spiked in 2022 and the trend is continuing in 2023 so far. Now Hyundai and the NOPD are teaming up to deter crooks from stealing cars.

According to the NOPD, in 2022 there were 4,400 car thefts which is a 35 percent increase over 2021. Of those 4,400 car thefts, 559 involved a Hyundai and 482 involved a Kia. The NOPD reached out to both Hyundai and Kia about anti-theft lock programs and Hyundai is providing free locks to all of the NOPD districts.

“Right now we are in the first 17 days of 2023. We are looking at one car theft per hour in the City of New Orleans,” Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said.

He says he’s heard one of the reasons is car thieves are learning how to steal cars on social media as part of a Tik Tok hack.

“The people who are boosting the cars are ahead of the people who are trying to prevent the boosting of the cars,” he said.

But Hyundai is trying to help by providing wheel locks to customers with Hyundais with model years 2013-2022.

“They serve as a visual deterrent because they are harder to defeat,” Goyeneche said.

In a statement from Hyundai:

“Hyundai has taken a series of actions to deter thefts of affected vehicles, including an upcoming software update scheduled to be available beginning in March and provided at no cost to customers. In the interim, Hyundai is also providing free steering wheel locks to select law enforcement agencies across the country for distribution to local residents who own or lease affected models.”

“They see a car bar, they move onto another car,” Goyeneche said.

The word is getting out and as of today NOPD’s 6th District is already out of the locks, but the NOPD says all of the department districts will be getting more.