ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new bill has been introduced in an effort to combat car thefts and break-ins in New York State — especially in the Rochester area.

The bill is called the Car Theft Prevention Act. If passed, the charge of criminal possession of stolen property would be added as a qualifying offense that would trigger bail eligibility.

In other words, if you were charged with vehicle theft now, you would not be eligible to be assigned bail. That would change if this bill is passed.

This bill was introduced by Senator Jeremy Cooney on Thursday. According to him, Monroe County has seen a 345% increase in car thefts seven months into the year 2023. He adds the city was hit the hardest with an 829% increase in car thefts. Monroe and Erie counties account for two-thirds of all car break-ins in New York.

These numbers are partly due to a TikTok challenge that exposed a security flaw in certain cars that make it easy for anyone to drive off with them, especially those made by Hyundai and Kia.

Senator Cooney says that this isn’t just about the numbers going up — it’s about the people being affected by them and law enforcement trying to stop them.

“Anyone who has experienced a car theft understands the invasion of privacy and feeling of vulnerability these crimes create,” said Cooney. “We seek to give local law enforcement and judges another tool to send a strong message that there will be consequences for these car thefts, and they must stop.”

Senator Cooney says he will formally reveal more information about this bill at a later point in time.