Arlington police give away anti-car theft devices following 2023 carjacking surge

Arlington County police will give away anti-car theft devices twice in April after carjackings soared last year in the Washington, D.C., area. 

The county’s police department will be giving residents and those who commute and park their vehicles in Arlington $20,000 in free steering wheel locks in an effort to curb car theft ahead of the summer. In Arlington County, 90 cars have been stolen since the start of the year. Last year, nearby Washington experienced 959 carjackings, with 77% of them involving guns, according to Metropolitan Police Department data.

Since last year, similar giveaways have taken place in Washington, Baltimore, Richmond, and some areas across Maryland, specifically for Kia and Hyundai owners, whose vehicle models are among the most likely to be stolen. Arlington County car theft increased by 32% between 2021 and 2022, Just the News reported.  

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provided 1,000 steering wheel locks to Arlington County police by using COVID-19 funds. 

Vehicles most commonly stolen in the area include Toyota Camrys, Honda Civics, Chevrolet Expresses, Toyota Corollas, and Honda Accords and CRVs, according to the department’s news release. Some of those vehicles in Arlington County could be eligible to receive an Apple AirTag. 


Arlington residents can receive one steering wheel lock per vehicle and more information on how to prevent car theft on April 17 at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church parking lot and on April 23 at the Arlington Assembly of God parking lot. 

While carjackings in the Washington area spiked last year, fresh data in the early months of 2024 suggest carjackings could be slowing down, with a 31% drop in motor vehicle theft as of April. Still, Arlington police recommended that residents use a steering or pedal locking device and other anti-theft devices and remove valuables from the vehicle to help prevent theft.

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