Car thefts are on the rise in West Michigan - and nationwide. In particular, certain kinds of vehicles are more popular with thieves.

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In a joint release, the Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood Police Departments are warning residents about the uptick in vehicle thefts,

The Combined Auto Theft Team is encouraging everyone to be aware of ongoing vehicle thefts, especially those with KIA and Hyundai models with a standard key ignition. These stolen vehicles are often used in other serious crimes and then abandoned.

While police say they are working to solve these crimes, and some vehicles are more attractive to thieves, there are things all residents can do to cut down on car thefts, including parking in a well lit areas, always locking your vehicle, and using a locking mechanism like column collars, steering wheel locks, or brake locks.

Police ask residents to report any suspicious activity or crimes while they are happening by calling 911.

Last month, WZZM-13 reported that specifically, thieves are targeting  2012 to 2022 Kia Sportage and Optima vehicles, plus Hyundai vehicles with standard key ignition.

May 1 through May 20, 2022, Kentwood Police had 24 cases of those particular cars stolen.

According to WZZM-13, thieves get into the car with or without force, then dismantle the steering column, override the ignition system, and take off.

Milwaukee is another city that's recently dealt with a large increase in the number of Kia and Hyundai thefts. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for a period of time last year, the two car companies provided free steering wheel locks to owners, and both companies "vowed to soon make an anti-theft system called 'engine immobilizers' standard in new vehicles."

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