D.C. police launch program distributing Airtags to stop car thefts

Acting Police Chief Pamela Smith says the tracking tags have already helped the department locate several stolen cars this year

By Joanna Putman

WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department started a program giving free Apple Airtags and Tiles to drivers in certain areas of the city to combat car thefts, Statescoop reported.

Police data obtained by Statescoop shows car thefts have risen just over 100% this year.

The new program will provide car owners with the tracking devices, and officers will help them hide the tags in their cars, according to the report.

“We have had success with similar programs where we make it easier for the community and MPD to work together, from our Private Security Camera Incentive Program to the wheel lock distribution program, and we will continue to use all the tools we have, and add new tools, to keep our city safe,” Bowser said in a press release.

Apple has advised against similar initiatives on the grounds that the devices have been used by stalkers to track people in their cars, according to the report.

Some cities, however, have used similar programs as car thefts spike. New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced an Airtag program in May.

Acting D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith said that the devices have already helped the department to locate several stolen vehicles. She has not specified how many tracking tags the program will distribute, according to the report.


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