The city of Washington D.C. has unveiled a program to provide free Apple AirTags to residents residing in specific neighborhoods. Mayor Muriel Bowser made the announcement, with the primary objective of aiding the police in locating stolen cars more effectively.
In a statement, Mayor Bowser emphasized the city’s initiative: “We are equipping residents with technology that will allow the [Metropolitan Police Department] to address these crimes, recover vehicles, and hold people accountable. We will continue to use all the tools we have, and add new tools, to keep our city safe.” This news was initially reported by the local publication DCist.
Residents of D.C. living in neighborhoods with a high incidence of vehicle theft will have the opportunity to receive free AirTags at various events in the city over the next several months, commencing next week. The exact quantity of AirTags to be distributed, each priced at $29, is currently undisclosed.
To facilitate this initiative, police officers will assist residents in installing the AirTags in their vehicles and registering them on their iPhones. In the event of a car theft, residents are required to report the location of the stolen vehicle through Apple’s FindMy app to law enforcement.
Washington D.C. becomes the second city to offer complimentary AirTags to enhance the tracking of car thieves. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a similar program, providing 500 AirTags to aid in tracking car thieves. Subsequently, the NYPD organized multiple giveaways of AirTags and Tile trackers, with a particular focus on Kia and Hyundai owners. However, it remains unclear whether these distributions are sourced from the same supply as the one announced by the mayor.
AirTags, introduced by Apple in 2021, have generated both controversy and utility. Critics have raised concerns about their potential for enabling stalkers to track individuals without their knowledge, prompting Apple to address these safety issues. Nonetheless, the devices have also proven beneficial in helping people track their pets, keep tabs on checked baggage, and even locate stolen campaign signs.