MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Hundreds of cars lined Austin Peay on Wednesday as drivers waited to pick up a free wheel lock from Memphis Police.

The lock that goes across your steering wheel is designed to prevent vehicle thefts.

MPD says it is a major driver of crime in the city as the department has reported a 93 percent increase so far this year. The department partnered with car company Kia to take a proactive stance in protecting rides.

“I think anything we can do to put a dent in some of the auto thefts we’ve seen in the city I think it’s going to be very, very positive,” said Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said.

For Erica Parker the added protection is crucial. She says she’s had her car stolen twice in the last month from her Whitehaven home. 

“It’s very frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get kids back to school, get to work, and don’t have transportation,” Parker said.

She made it a priority to get a lock today. 

“I thought it was a great idea for us to be able to lock our cars down so where the thieves can’t get them,” Parker said.

The giveaway started at 1 p.m. but Chief Davis said people started lining up as early as 10 a.m.

“I have to say, I was very shocked,” she said.

Davis said it’s all about being proactive and preventative. 

“The first car in line was a Hyundai and that’s what we’ve been seeing. Unfortunately, Hyundai’s and Kias and some of the GMC models are being targeted right now,” she said.

The plan was to give out 300 wheel locks Wednesday. Davis believes this can be a jumping-off point for more community engagement. 

“I think this is generating a lot of proactive response not just from our community members but even other business corporations that want to help,” she said.

MPD still has 200 wheel locks to give out and is planning more giveaways in the future. We’ll let you know when we learn more.