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A tale of Kias, TikToks, and car thefts

Last June, videos demonstrating how to start some Kias and Hyundais using a USB charger went viral on TikTok, leading to a rash of thefts in some cities. TikTok has since removed the videos, but car owners are still dealing with their impact: from December 2021 to December 2022, reported thefts rose 50 percent in Atlanta and El Paso, Texas. They tripled in Dayton, Ohio.

USAFacts compiled data from hundreds of police departments to understand this trend. Here's what we found.  

  • One of the most-cited car theft videos was filmed in Milwaukee. Starting in November 2020, the city became one of the first to grapple with a wave of stolen Kias and Hyundais. Thefts have remained comparatively elevated since. 
Kia and Hyundai thefts in Denver and Milwaukee
  • In 2021, Milwaukee police reported one car stolen for every 50 people, the highest rate among big cities that submitted data to the FBI. By April 2021, 71% of the vehicles reported stolen in the city were Kias or Hyundais, up from 6% in 2019. 
  • Denver had a slightly different problem. Thefts of Kias, Hyundais and other vehicles doubled from spring to fall 2020. In 2021, the city reported one stolen vehicle for every 60 residents, about six times the national average.
Chicago Kia and Hyundai thefts rose summer 2022
  • Thefts rose sharply in summer 2022. Chicago might be the best example of this. In the first half of 2022, 551 Kias or Hyundais were reported stolen in Chicago. In the second, 6,250 were reported stolen.
  • It's unclear what makes the trend catch on. Denver is more than 1,000 miles from Milwaukee and was the second city to experience this rise. Chicago, just 90 miles from Milwaukee, didn't have a rash of Kia and Hyundai thefts until mid-2022. Cities as disparate as Portland, Oregon, and Dayton, Ohio, are dealing with more thefts, while thefts in Wichita, Kansas; San Francisco, and other cities have mostly stayed the same. 

Learn more about cities facing rising car thefts in this new report.

Get the background on US bank failures

Silicon Valley Bank controlled more than $175 billion in total deposits. Its failure is the second largest in US history. What’s the record of bank failures in the United States? Get the background here.

The three major periods of US bank failures
  • The US has had over 3,500 bank failures, most of which occurred during three separate periods.
  • At least 370 banks collapsed over the 11 years of the Great Depression. More than 2,300 banks closed during the financial crises from 1980 to 1994 (including 531 in 1989 — the most in a single year), costing more than $277 billion when adjusted for inflation.
  • Finally, there's the Great Recession and its long-lasting impact. Between 2007 and 2014, 523 American banks failed, costing over $86 billion.

Learn more about the factors behind these bank failures.

Data behind the news

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a report stating that the Earth could cross a critical climate change threshold within 10 years. Curious about the climate where you liveSee the data here.  

Have you taken the weekly fact quiz yet?

One last fact

There were at least 1.1M students homeless in the US in 2021

Over 1 million public school students were homeless in the 2020–2021 school year. Of these students, 76.8% lived temporarily with others due to the loss of their housing (known as doubled-up); 10.9% lived in shelters, and 7.8% lived in hotels or motels.

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