NYPD Shooting Fleeing Cars With GPS Darts

Holy GPS Tracker, Batman!

The New York City Police Department is no stranger to gadgets and gizmos, from privacy-invading robot dogs and useless 400-pound automatons to AI-enabled metal detectors that may or may not actually work.

Now, the NYPD and other cops in the area are looking to address a recent spike in car theft by shooting GPS-enabled darts at fleeing vehicles, Gothamist reports — a hilarious idea that feels like it was yanked straight out of a 1960s "Batman" flick.

Across the city's five boroughs, more than 15,000 cars were reported stolen last year alone, roughly three times as many as compared to just five years ago, per the report.

To keep track of stolen getaway cars, NYPD officers are now opting to shoot them with "GPS darts" that stick onto the back of cars with heat-activated glue.

According to Gothamist, the darts don't come cheap, costing the Old Westbury Police Department on Long Island alone $45,000.

But whether they'll meaningfully be able to address the issue remains to be seen. Tracking a vehicle is one thing — but getting the police to actually track down your stolen car is far more of a challenge.

Nerf Gun Car Chase

The GPS dart technology comes courtesy of a company called StarChase. Instead of engaging in a potentially dangerous pursuit through NYC streets, officers can use an extremely Nerf Gun-like launcher called Guardian-HX to shoot the foam darts at the rear of target vehicles.

However, as Jalopnik pointed out in its writeup about the tech last year, critics have already voiced privacy concerns, given the NYPD's less-than-stellar track record when it comes to surveillance abuse.

That said, the devices could help reduce the number of people getting hurt as a result of a potentially dangerous car chase.

"What we want to do is to mitigate as many high-speed chases in the city as possible," mayor Eric Adams told reporters last year, as quoted by the New York Times.

Apart from GPS darts, Adams also announced at the time that he is distributing 500 Apple AirTags to owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, which have become primary targets because they're easily hotwired by thieves.

Whether any of these efforts will be able to curb New York City's Grand Theft Auto problem, though, remains to be seen.

More on the NYPD: NYPD Purchases Expensive AI Metal Detectors That May or May Not Actually Work