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Davis, California

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Are TikTok challenges to blame for increases in vehicle theft throughout Yolo County?

Davis law enforcement cites a TikTok challenge as the reason for increase in vehicle theft, but students are divided over whether the social media app is responsible


By ANTHONY W. ZAMMIKIEL  — city@theaggie.org 


Law enforcement authorities in Yolo County have cited a TikTok challenge from the summer of 2022 as a possible reason for the increase in thefts targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles. This comes as law enforcement nationwide has reported increases in vehicle theft, with similar comments being made about how this trend originated from the TikTok content creator, Kia Boyz. 

Videos on the popular social media app showcase how specific models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles are more vulnerable to vehicle theft. The original videos published by Kia Boyz, which are now unavailable, feature the content creator teaching viewers how to easily break into cars or steal their parts. 

However, despite local law enforcement agencies citing the TikTok challenge as being the inspiration for some of these thefts, Davis students remain divided over whether the increase in theft can be attributed to the challenge.

Fourth-year student Will Roberts said that considering how many videos are still publicly available on the social media app, those content creators could be responsible for providing inspiration for the criminal activities being committed here in Davis.

“You just have to type Kia Boyz into your TikTok feed, and there you go, you have all of these videos which pop up of people doing the same thing,” Roberts said. “And there aren’t any restrictions on these videos at all. […] That information being publicly available is really a big problem.”

However, other students disagree. Mia Kim, a third-year student, said that there are other factors law enforcement should consider when investigating the crimes and what their motivations were.

“There may have been a few incidents that you could rightly attribute to this ‘TikTok challenge’ from last summer,” Kim said. “However, it is not likely that the police could sit down and say, ‘Hey, with all the evidence we have on these thefts, we can unequivocally say that this challenge was to blame.’ I think there should be some restraint in all the news about how TikTok challenges are responsible for all these things going on across the country, and instead really wait and see what are the reasons behind all the thefts that have been going on.” 

The Davis Police Department operates an online feature called Citizens RIMS that shows the latest reports on criminal activities in the city. On the website, the Davis Police Department has a section dedicated to stolen vehicles, which lists important information about the vehicles that have been stolen, including the date when the vehicle was stolen.

“If you see any of the stolen vehicles listed on this page DO NOT TAKE ACTION YOURSELF,” the Police Department states on the website. “Contact the Davis Police Department at 530-747-5400. If the vehicle is occupied, call 9-1-1.” 

If you have information concerning Yolo County car thefts, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office recommends calling 530-668-5248 to report any suspicious or criminal activity that you witness and 911 if there is an emergency. 


Any individual in the Davis community who has information on any incident of vehicle theft is encouraged to contact local law enforcement with the information provided above. 


Written By: Anthony W. Zammikiel  — city@theaggie.org