CLEVELAND — Cleveland officials gave an update to residents on Wednesday morning regarding the ongoing problem of vehicle theft in the city.
During the press conference, Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia.
"Today's lawsuit shows Kia and Hyundai have prioritized profits over people and profits over safety," Bibb said.
The announcement came just two days after Cleveland City Council unanimously approved a resolution urging Mayor Bibb's administration to file a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia.
Ward 13 Council member Kris Harsh, who spoke at the press conference on Wednesday, introduced the legislation citing that Kias and Hyundais manufactured between 2015-2021 are not equipped with "industry-standard features" to prevent thefts.
“We as a city must do everything we can to fight for these residents to get them the resources they deserve and to show that we want to use the full weight of the law to hold these car manufacturers accountable," Bibb remarked.
The recent increase in car theft in Cleveland is also impacting law enforcement resources.
“The increase in theft is nationwide, not just here in Cleveland. It is certainly causing a draw on our resources. That is something a lot of people don’t see,” said Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Harold Pretel.
Officials also mentioned that many of the stolen cars have also been tied to other crimes in Northeast Ohio.
"These are not luxury vehicles behind us, these are vehicles of working-class people that need to go to work. Often times hourly jobs don’t pay for the day if you go out in the morning and your car isn’t there," said Harsh. "These are vehicles for people that need to take their kids to doctor appointments or sometimes hit the grocery store at 10 p.m."
Harsh mentioned that individuals who have had their car stolen can contact FeganScott at 312-741-4019.
Mayor Justin Bibb was joined alongside the following officials at the press conference:
- City of Cleveland Law Director Mark Griffin
- Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Harold Pretel
- Ward 13 Councilmember Kris Harsh
3News streamed the update that took place at the Police Impound Lot on Bradley Road. The full press conference can be viewed below:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video at the top of the story previously aired on 3News on March 7, 2023.
According to data from the Cleveland Division of Police, Kias and Hyundais alone accounted for 38% of the city's nearly 5,000 car thefts in 2022.
In January 2023, the only month of data provided by Cleveland police for this year so far, Kias and Hyundais make up a whopping 62% of vehicle thefts.