LAS VEGAS (KLAS)Motor vehicle thefts are up almost 50% higher than this time last year according to the latest numbers from The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

It’s a disturbing trend but officers believe crooks are targeting some specific car models.

Drivers who own a Hyundai or a Kia built between 2010 and 2021 could be at the most risk.

Metro police believe it’s all due to a disturbing social media trend where car thieves show how easy it can be to start the vehicles.

Natasha Zamora has been a Las Vegas resident all her life and said she noticed the trend.

“It’s been worse. They can’t figure out who it is, and they just steal your car and it’s gone,” she said.

Jeremy Gilol moved to Las Vegas two years and asked why it is happening.

“Basically I just think it’s bad. Why would you steal a car?” he asked.

Jonathan Alvarez, the CEO of Protective Force International said it’s often a crime of opportunity.

“Our law enforcement is out there dealing with violent crime and something as little as a car theft to them there is just not enough time to get it. And you have a community that is continually growing as well,” Alvarez said.

There are steps you can take to protect your ride including some new technology.

“Find the dash cams that are capable with GPS that you can set that up and mount it to your windshield or to your dash,” explained Alan Almeida who is the Assistant Chief of Operations at Protective Force International.

Devices like that can even kill a car’s ignition so thieves won’t be going anywhere with the vehicle.

If the worse does happen, be prepared.

“If all the paperwork for your license plate and your vehicle is in your vehicle then it is going to be a bad day. So at least have a picture of what your vehicle looks like and your vin number and store it inside of your house. So, if something like that occurs you can properly notify law enforcement,” Alvarez explained.

There are also some basic things to protect your vehicle such as locking the car every time and parking in a well-lit area.

Another tip is to look for security cameras. They can deter crooks from some crimes and help get a stolen car back.

Overall, the ‘motor vehicle thefts’ are up 44% in Metro’s jurisdiction for the Feb. 3 cutoff dates.

The only area where thefts are down is Convention Center at 24%.

Here are other area commands where the southeast valley is leading by a whopping number in the early stages of 2023.

  • Southeast Valley: 118.2%
  • Summerlin: 79.4%
  • NE: 64.7%
  • Bolden: 62.3%
  • NW: 56.3%
  • Enterprise: 54%
  • DTLV: 31.6%