TikTok “Kia Boyz Challenge” to Blame for Philadelphia’s Rise in Kia and Hyundai Thefts
As previously reported, Philadelphia has seen a striking increase in overall vehicle thefts. However, according to Beatrice Forman of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kia and Hyundai have seen a STAGGERING increase, almost 800% and 400% respectively, thanks to a viral TikTok challenge coined the “Kia Boyz Challenge” that describes how to steel the brands’ vehicles with only a USB cable and screwdriver.
Take a look at the infographic below:
Forman writes, “The TikTok challenge captured ‘For You’ pages during summer 2022 as a group of Milwaukee teens earned notoriety for building an almost mythic ring of car thieves focused exclusively on Kia and Hyundais. An analysis by The Inquirer found that the trend hit Philadelphia in the last quarter of 2022, when tallies of Kia and Hyundai thefts roughly doubled each month.”
As such, TikTok, Kia and Hyundai manufacturers, and law enforcement are scrambling to find ways to protect concerned residents.
So what is being done?
According to Forman, “TikTok said in a statement it is working to remove videos that glorify car theft. Amid a class action lawsuit that alleges the car manufacturers ignored standard theft protections, Kia and Hyundai announced a slate of security software updates that would make it impossible to start older cars without a key in the ignition. Both brands also started a program that provides local law enforcement agencies with steering wheel locks to distribute free of charge.”
Those steering wheel locks were scheduled to be delivered to residents yesterday, February 28, 2023, by North Philadelphia’s 35th police district.