Over the last couple of months, several students have been victims of car thefts and break-ins on campus here at Cleveland State. In 2021, motor vehicle theft was the highest crime on college campuses, according to The Michigan State University 2022 Security and Fire Safety Report.
According to CSU PD 60 day crime report from Sept. 23 to Nov. 23, there have been 29 instances of CSU PD responding to motor vehicle trespassing, criminal damage, and petty theft involving cars on and near campus.
Thefts have skyrocketed after social media app TikTok popularized the method of starting Hyundai car engines without a key fob. Hyundai vehicles are especially high risk for car theft (2016-2021 models) because they are designed in a way that allows thieves to use a USB cord to start the ignition. Shortly after this discovery was made, Hyundai provided Cleveland car owners steering wheel locks to make car theft more difficult.
CSU student Cupar Meikle was a victim of car theft last weekend. Cupar is leasing a 2020 Kia Forte and commutes to class. Sunday evening, he was having dinner with his family and left his Kia parked on campus grounds. When he returned, his vehicle was missing.
“It’s frustrating. I felt the Cleveland State Police Department would not be able to be much help.” Cupar said. As a commuter without a vehicle, Cupar felt stuck and unlucky. Cupar car is his livelihood. “I have to pay my deductible… losing my car has cost me.”
Cupar shared that he believed the benefits of allowing students to park overnight on campus for just a single day would be a great help. Since CSU is a large commuter school, he feels they should not charge such much money for parking.
Ohio State University has begun working towards lowering car theft on campus by confronting it in a different way. Student Government and Police at OSU worked collectively to build their Steering Wheel Lock Program.
This program provided 200 steering wheel locks to students who are especially at risk of car theft on campus. Those at-risk students include commuters and those who drive Hyundai, Kia, and Ford cars. OSU P.D. also implemented 24/7 patrol, license plate recognition systems, and additional cameras in garages and side streets that may go unnoticed.
While these implementations may not entirely remove car theft, they likely prevent car thieves from entering campus grounds to steal cars.
Cleveland State Police plan to increase patrols to curb the increase of car break-ins and thefts.
“We are increasing patrols of CSU parking lots and garages. You can help by not leaving visible property inside your car, making sure your windows are rolled up all the way, and locking your vehicle,” Cleveland State said in a statement.
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