OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — After seeing an increase in thefts across Opelousas, the police department is taking steps to help owners of KIAs and Hyundais avoid becoming the next victim by supplying free steering wheel locks.

New Ten’s Zane Hogue spoke with Opelousas Chief of Police Graig LeBlanc about the new steering wheel locks.

“We received information that the manufacturer may provide these types of devices to hand out to the community. We felt it was our responsibility as the Opelousas police for the community to reach out and get these supplied to us, so we can supply them to the community free of charge,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc says the police department felt it was necessary to request the locks after seeing 60 reported car thefts since the beginning of the year that have already resulted in 18 arrests.

LeBlanc said they saw an increase in thefts once a video about KIAs and Hyundais gained popularity online.

“There’s a video going around on YouTube that actually shows individuals how to access these vehicles through the push to start mechanism, which makes those vehicles easily accessible to steal,” said LeBlanc

While supplying the locks to people in the city, LeBlanc says officers can also demonstrate how the locks work to make sure cars are secure.

LeBlanc says the department is already seeing a large turnout of residents picking up their locks and the hope is that the number of car thefts will decrease.

“We received 120 of these particular locks, and day one we actually gave out half of what we received, so I do believe that the community is grateful and we’re grateful to the community for using them. Any kind of preventive measure that we can take in helping our community to not become a victim is what we want to do,” said LeBlanc.

Anyone in the city that needs a lock can pick them up from the police department after providing a valid divers license and the vehicle registration proving they drive a KIA or a Hyundai.