Chicago has become the latest city victimized by the latest TikTok challenge, which shows how you can start Kia and Hyundai cars using only a USB cable.
The Windy City has seen thefts of the two car brands rise by a shocking 767 percent since the beginning of July compared to the same period in 2021, according to Chicago police.
Although the original Kia challenge video has been removed, copycats have emerged to the point that TikTok has asked users to report any copies that have been made.
The challenge, which users post to the social video site under #KiaBoyz, shows impressionable viewers that using the tip of a phone charger or USB cable can start a Hyundai or a Kia.
‘These automobile thefts are a crime of opportunity and can affect just about any member of the community,’ Chicago PD said in a statement.
Chicago has become the latest city victimized by the latest TikTok challenge, which shows how you can start Kia and Hyundai cars using only a USB cable
The Windy City has seen thefts of the two car brands rise by a shocking 767 percent since the beginning of July compared to the same period in 2021, according to Chicago police
Chicago PD said in a statement: ‘These automobile thefts are a crime of opportunity and can affect just about any member of the community’
A grab from one viral TikTok shows how the use of the tip of a phone charger or USB cable can start a stolen vehicle
Chicago isn’t alone in facing this troubling trend, as cities all across America appear to be dealing with the danger.
In Portland, Oregon, thefts of Hyundais are up 153 percent while Kias are up 269 percent, according to city police.
In Columbus, Ohio, the two brands have made up 38 percent of all cars stolen in 2022, the New York Post reported.
Out in Los Angeles, Kias and Hyundais are 20 percent of all car thefts, up from 13 percent at this point last year, KTLA says.
Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported that car thefts were 30 percent higher than was typically the case at this time of year, with the majority of vehicles being Kias and Hyundais.
TikTok, when confronted with the videos by WHIO, sent a statement: ‘We absolutely do not condone these types of videos and it is something that is being removed from our platforms. We use a combination of technology and dedicated safety teams to ensure that our content aligns with TikTok Community guideline.’
Various viral videos have spread since 2021 showing tips on how to hotwire Kia and Hyundai cars
The issue is a particularly bad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where ‘Kia Boyz’ related thefts account for two thirds of the city’s stolen cars
This style of theft is thought to have originated in Wisconsin beginning in 2021.
In June, Fox 9 reported across the Twin Cities there was an uptick in Kia and Hyundai thefts. At the time, a woman who had just bought a Kia Sol only to see it stolen just outside of her home in Minneapolis told the station that had she known how easy it was to steal the cars, she would have bought something different.
A ‘Kia Boyz’ style theft was linked to the death of a 70-year-old woman named Phoua Hang, who was killed when the car she was traveling in was slammed into by a stolen Kia, reports TwinCities.com.
At the time of writing, there have been no arrests in relation to Hang’s death. The issue is particularly bad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where ‘Kia Boyz’ related thefts account for two-thirds of the city’s stolen cars.
It has gotten so bad in Milwaukee that authorities have advised Kia and Hyundai owners to buy steering wheel locks or to invest in more advanced security systems.
In May, WISN reported that one member of the ‘Kia Boyz’, 19-year-old Antonio Carter, was accused of pointing a ‘long gun’ at a police officer as he attempted to arrest him.
Carter was also accused of driving the stolen red Kia at 90 miles per hour in the ‘wrong lanes of travel’ in the city. At the time of his arrest, Carter was out on bail in two open felony cases.
In a statement on the thefts, Kia said: ‘Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels. All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change.
‘All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance center directly at 1-800-333-4542.’
While Hyundai said: ‘Hyundai Motor America is concerned with the rise in local auto thefts. The safety and well-being of our customers and the community is and will remain our top priority.’
A TikTok video posted in the US shows how to start a Kia using only a USB cable
‘These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles.’
TikTok has come under fire in recent months for exposing teenagers to dangerous trends including ‘rape culture’, how to hotwire new cars, and a vile ‘blackout challenge’ that has killed youngsters.
The social media giant has failed to strip down misogynistic comments by former kickboxer Andrew Tate, footage of thugs stealing KIAs and Hyundias, and content encouraging children to asphyxiate themselves.
These all come despite the tech giant having extensive community guidelines spelled out on its website, including rules on dangerous acts and challenges, hateful behavior, and against promoting suicide or harm.
But it could soon be held more accountable across the US for content on the site under the Combating Harmful Actions with Transparency on Social Act.
The bill seeks to combat dangers to children and boost transparency into how apps are being used for crimes.
On dangerous challenges, TikTok says: ‘We do not permit users to share content depicting, promoting, normalizing or glorifying dangerous acts that may lead to serious injury or death’
And in the violent and graphic content part, it adds: ‘TikTok is a platform that celebrates creativity but not shock value or violence’
TikTok is not the only outlet to battle dangerous content on its site, with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all being hauled over the coals in recent months for failing to moderate themselves effectively.
The outlet has taken the social media world by storm since its global launch in 2017, allowing users to share short bursts of content that range from innocent dance routines to perilous challenges.
The China-based firm has also proven popular with celebrities and the media, with both groups using it to expand their reach.
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