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Amidst car thefts, demand for steering wheel locks skyrockets

Last year 4,400 cars were either stolen or attempted to be stolen in Orleans parish. That is up 35% from the year before.

NEW ORLEANS — We've been telling you about why some cars are easier to steal, and why police recommend you put one of those locks on your steering wheel as a deterrent.

One local man was hoping to get one of those free locks after his car was hit twice, but he couldn't.

Last year 4,400 cars were either stolen or attempted to be stolen in Orleans parish. That is up 35% from the year before. A quarter of those were Kias or Hyundais. That statistic can be traced to the Kia & Hyundai how-to video that went viral. That is why one Kia owner wants a steering wheel lock.

Car break-ins seem to be following David Falk from his home uptown to his parent's home in Gentilly.

“I just think it's pretty pathetic that people would go through that much effort for little, to no reward. I guess the first time they were probably looking for guns, which weren't there, and this time they were looking for things and attempted to steal the car, but didn't get anything out of it,” Falk said.

Each time it was the same back window of his Kia Sorento. He knows certain models of Kias, like his, and Hyundais, are easier to break into the ignition and steal.

“This time last night, they actually tried to steal the car, but I guess they just weren't sure exactly what to do,”  Falk said.

So, on Tuesday morning David went to the sixth district police station. He was hoping to get one of those free steering wheel locks he heard about on the news. He did not realize they are only for people with certain model Hyundais, because they were donated by Hyundai. Still, he found a note on the door stating they were out of them. NOPD says they got 64 locks from Hyundai, so that’s eight per district. When the sixth district put the word out, theirs were gone in three hours.

“So, I make my living as a Lyft driver, so between getting my window replaced and the downtime waiting for the window to arrive from a junkyard in Mississippi, I was out of work for a couple of days,” Falk said.

David says it would have cost him more than his $1,000 deductible for a car window company to fix it the first time. The junkyard window replacement cost only $150. Now even those are getting more scarce.

“And the junkyard windows are in such high demand, he had to call in one from Jackson, Mississippi. This time it's coming from Alabama,” he said about the second replacement for the window that is still broken.

Each district is handling its allotments differently. NOPD is asking for more from the car companies. Not all Districts have their locks yet.

Contact each district to see about waiting lists.

This is a partnership with Hyundai. The NOPD called Hyundai and Kia after learning of the program. They have not gotten any from Kia.

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