Mayor Muriel Bowser said that Washington, D.C. will issue free Apple AirTags to citizens in specific neighborhoods. The goal is to make it easier for authorities to track down stolen vehicles.
D.C. homeowners living in neighborhoods with the best rates of vehicle theft will be eligible for free AirTags at three different events taking place throughout the city over the next few months, beginning next week. It’s unclear how many AirTags, which cost $29 each, will be distributed.
Police officers will assist residents in installing the AirTags and registering them on their iPhones. If a car is stolen, residents must notify law police of the vehicle’s position as displayed in Apple’s FindMy app.
D.C. is the second city to distribute free AirTags to aid in the detection of car thieves. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that the city would distribute 500 AirTags to aid in the detection of car thieves. Since then, the NYPD has given up many AirTag and Tile trackers, primarily to Kia and Hyundai owners, but it’s unclear whether these are from the same supply mentioned by the mayor.
Critics have claimed that they allow stalkers to track victims without their awareness – a safety problem that Apple eventually solved. However, the sensors have also been beneficial in tracking pets, checked bags, and stolen campaign signs.