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Property crime rises as juvenile auto theft continues


Property crime is on the rise, according to CMPD’s first-quarter crime report. 

Police attributed the increase in property crime to a number of car theft and break-ins, many committed by juveniles. 

Auto-theft arrests are up 64% compared to 2022. The department reported that juveniles make up 62% of all auto theft arrests.

“This cycle is happening time and time again, and not just auto thefts. We continue to see juveniles commit serious crimes at higher rates,” Deputy Chief Tonya Arrington told reporters Thursday. 

Many auto theft incidents stem from the Kia/Hyundai Challenge, a social media TikTok trend that made waves in Charlotte around the summer of 2022.

So far this year, more than 800 Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been solen, an increase of 1,747%.

CMPD has issued several warnings to vehicle owners and upped enforcement to handle this trend. 

Last month, the department held a steering wheel club anti-theft giveaway for Kia & Hyundai owners and plans to host another giveaway on April 29. 

Arrington asked that owners contact local dealers about software updates. The department plans to work with local dealerships to find other possible solutions.

Addressing Street Takeover groups 

Since February, CMPD has made 11 arrests, 7 guns seized, 7 vehicles seized, and 78 citations.

Arrington said there are takeovers every week, but the department has noticed a decrease in cars participating due to vehicle seizures.

Parents and guardians need to be held accountable for the whereabouts of their children. They will be charged in these cases, too, police said.

“Take responsibility in what your child is doing during the day,” she said.

Other crime statistics

As of March 31, there have been 972 shootings this year compared to 993 shootings last year, according to police.

There were 20 homicides in the first quarter, many caused by “minor disputes being solved with guns,” police said.

Arrington said 258 guns have been stolen from vehicles so far, on track to reach around 1,000 by the end of the year.

“Make it a habit to know where your gun is,” she said.

The department is encouraging residents to lock up guns at home. Arrington recommends removing the ammo from guns to prevent further violence. 

Other crime statistics include violent crimes down 6%, 911 calls increased by 8%, robberies down 5%, rapes down 22% and aggravated assaults down 6%.


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