A Florida city has banned the use of automatic locks on cars because of an outbreak of the deadly car burglar disease, locking out millions of owners and drivers in the process.
“This is a dangerous disease that can be transmitted to our neighbors and our neighbors to neighbors,” said Orlando Police Chief Michael Koval, according to local media.
“It’s something that’s only been going on for the last week, two weeks, two months, so I’m not sure how many more it’ll happen, but we’ve been working hard to stop it.”
“This lockdown has created a lot of disruption,” Koval said.
“We’re trying to get people off the road and out of their homes, out of the car, and away from the vehicles.”
Koval said that in order to prevent the spread of the disease, the city will limit the number of cars on the road, prohibit the use and ownership of all new vehicles, and require that all owners of older vehicles pay a $5,000 fee.
Koval says there is a high risk of contracting the disease from a car that has been locked.
“If a car has been stolen, or if a car is in the garage, and a thief comes into the garage and gets into the vehicle, the owner of that vehicle has no way of knowing it’s not stolen, because they’ve locked the door,” Kavoval said, according a local NBC affiliate.
“That means that if somebody comes in and opens the door and walks around and steals the vehicle that was locked, they are not only taking the vehicle but the owner.”
He said that the number one priority of police is to protect the lives of those in their vehicles.
“What we’re doing is taking care of our community,” Kravoval said during the news conference.
“In this situation, we are in a very critical position, because we’ve had a significant number of people who are not in their cars at all.”
Kravoval did not provide further details about the number or location of the outbreak, but said that it had occurred in an area of the city known for its strong auto-industry presence.
“At the time, it wasn’t immediately apparent where it had started and where it was going,” he said.
Police in Tampa, Florida, on Monday banned the sale and ownership or lease of any new vehicles that had not been locked, while the city of Lakeland, Florida on Tuesday ordered all vehicles locked up to be towed.ABC News reported that the two Florida cities had issued similar bans, although the exact number of owners who have been affected has yet to be determined.
“The City of Lakeville in Florida has had more than 6,000 locks installed in vehicles since October 15,” the news station reported.
“City of Lake County has had approximately 9,000 lockouts in the city since October 16.”
Lakeville, in Lakeland County, is the largest city in Florida.
The City Council of Lakewood in Florida, which is about 40 miles south of Orlando, on Tuesday voted unanimously to lock down all vehicles, despite the fact that the virus has only recently emerged in the state.
The city council has also banned all new car sales and lease transactions.
The council has a total of 1,848 cars, but its council has said that they have the ability to take away a number of those cars and put them in temporary storage, which will be in place until the coronavirus has spread to the wider state.
It is unclear what the impact will be on the thousands of other residents who live in the communities where the lockouts have been implemented.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has previously declared a state of emergency in the Florida Keys and is calling for people to be prepared for any outbreaks.ABCNews.com reports that the outbreak has affected more than 300,000 vehicles in the US, with the number expected to grow to 500,000 by the end of the week.