Skip to main content

We have covered the benefits of sticking an Apple AirTag in your car to track it if it gets stolen. There have been a few cases where car owners successfully retrieved their cars with the help of law enforcement and an AirTag. However, using these little metal discs can be dangerous.

There is a concern for some drivers using Apple AirTags

A man holds up an Apple AirTag
Apple AirTag | Getty Images

Although the authorities in many cities nationwide are urging residents to use Apple AirTags in their cars, there is a fear for their safety. Some drivers have taken justice into their own hands by tracking their stolen vehicles and confronting the thieves.

According to Axios, “At least two people have been killed in recent months in cases authorities say involved victims using real-time tracking to locate their stolen cars.” On March 29th, a San Antonio man confronted and shot a suspected thief. The Mercury News also reported on a Denver man who tracked his car and confronted a suspected thief, only for an altercation to ensue and a 12-year-old boy to be killed.

Former Boston police commissioner Edward Davis, told Axios, “We always have to be cognizant of vigilantism. We have to put safeguards, like laws and policies, to dissuade people from considering that.”

Overall public safety is a huge fear, and it’s unclear whether city officials can be held liable if the car owners take the law into their own hands. Especially in cities like New York, where officials have given out 500 free AirTags to fight auto theft and carjackings.

Car theft has increased in many parts of the nation

San Francisco car thief breaking into vehicle, showing how he’s stopped by glitter bombs and fart spray in YouTube video
Car thief breaking into vehicle | Mark Rober via YouTube

The concern for public safety is warranted, considering car theft has risen by 59% in 30 major cities from 2019 to 2022. Denver, Colo., alone saw a 179% increase, and Memphis, Tenn., saw a 153% jump. TikTok fads, which show how easy it is to steal cars like Hyundais and Kias, are partially to blame for the rise in some thefts around the nation.

Law enforcement is urging car owners not to track down thieves

A Ford Crown Victoria unmarked police car moves to the scene of a crime or broken law.
Ford Crown Victoria │Christopher Evans, MediaNews Group via Boston Herald via Getty Images

The police in certain cities are urging car owners not to track the cars themselves, considering all of the controversy surrounding the “wild west” vigilantism. Albuquerque police spokesperson, Rebecca Atkins, told Axios, “We have had a few incidents where Apple AirTags and even some AirPods left in a stolen vehicle assisted officers in locating the car. However, if someone’s vehicle is stolen, they should not track it themselves. They should alert the police immediately.”

Although Apple AirTags have assisted the police and car owners in retrieving cars, public safety is of the utmost importance. If you use an AirTag to track your stolen car, call the police and have them do the dirty work.