SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With car thefts spiking in many of parts of NY, including in Onondaga County, Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced a $55 million plan to curb the crime.

It’s a five-point plan to increase law enforcement efforts, offer more support for prosecutors, prevention strategies and a “robust public engagement campaign.”

Part of the campaign includes a letter from the state’s DMV to more than 440,000 Kia and Hyundai owners about taking precautions to prevent their car from being a target. Among the anti-theft measures, it reminds owners of a software update and a window sticker provided by the car companies that says the car is outfitted with anti-theft software.

Tony Borelli, is the program coordinator for Neighborhood Watch Groups of Syracuse. He said he applauds efforts by the Governor, but he’s heard from his groups that Kia and Hyundai owners who received the software upgrade still had their car broken into by thieves.

“The criminals don’t know that the software has been fixed, so they’re smashing the windows, they’re ripping the columns out, doing thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage,” Borelli said.

Borelli is urging his neighborhood watch groups to “join the club.” He thinks a steering wheel lock such as a club could deter a thief from smashing into a car armed with the device and force them to move to a more vulnerable target.

“The visible part of seeing the club on the steering wheel, we feel is a huge deterrent and we’ve heard from our members that have tried it and been successful,” Borelli said.

While some police departments offer clubs for free or at a discounted price, Syracuse PD does not have such a program.

You could be reimbursed for your steering wheel lock. Hyundai posted the following on its website:

Some 2011-2022 model year vehicles without engine immobilizers cannot accommodate the software upgrade. For these customers, 1.) Hyundai is working with local law enforcement offices to provide free steering wheel locks to customers. Owners are advised to reach out to their local law enforcement for more information. 2.) Hyundai will reimburse all customers who own or lease 2011-2022 model year vehicles without immobilizers that cannot accommodate the software upgrade for their purchase of a steering wheel lock. For steering wheel lock reimbursement, please contact Hyundai at 888-498-0390. 3.) Hyundai is preparing to provide this subset of customers with the option of obtaining reimbursement to offset their purchase of a different anti-theft device, such as an alarm kit. For more information, please contact Hyundai at 888-498-0390.