The government of New York City plans to distribute free Apple AirTags as an attempt to deter car thefts, Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday.
Mayor Adams said that a local nonprofit donated 500 AirTags which will be handed out to car owners in the city. Apple AirTags are GPS tracking devices that can be attached to personal belongings to keep track of them.
“The aggravated number of grand larceny autos continues to drive up crime in our city,” Adams explained at a presser. “This simple device, this simple AirTag, hidden in a car location that a person is not aware, of is an excellent tracking device,”
“It’s easy to monitor. You can see in real-time where the vehicle is located,” the mayor added.
Adams explained that the 500 AirTags will be handed out by cops – including in the crime-ridden 43th Precinct in the Bronx.
“We’re going to be handing them out in this precinct, which is really spiking in grand larceny autos,” Adams said at the presser, which was held in the Castle Hill neighborhood.
While Apple AirTags can help car owners keep track of their vehicles, the devices have been used nefariously in the past. Ohio state lawmakers who were concerned about stalking recently expressed interest in banning them.
“Obviously, technology can be a great thing for convenience, for safety, but it can also be a dangerous thing, and that’s what we’re seeing with these tracking devices,” Republican Senator Nathan Manning claimed.
In January, an AirTag was found under the hood of a marked NYPD vehicle. The discovery prompted NYPD Chief of Housing Martine Materasso to remind the entire department to be wary of their vehicles in light of anti-police sentiment.
Apple condemned the misuse of AirTags in a statement back in February.
“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” Apple wrote. “Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag.”
Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.