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UMKC Police Distribute Steering Wheel Locks and Offer Tips for Enhanced Vehicle Security
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Rockhill Parking Garage

  “I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t think it was going to happen to me,” said Chase Brennan, a Hyundai owner and victim of the ongoing car break ins affecting certain car manufactures. 

  Brennan’s car, a 2017 Sonata, was stolen in the Brookside 51 and Whole Foods parking garage on Oak and 51st Street in late August. He was in his friend’s apartment for only about 20 minutes when the thief ripped the steering wheel column out and hot wired it with a pair of pliers and phone charger. 

  “Then I spun the corner and I saw a crashed Hyundai Sonata,” Brennan said. “They used a stolen Sonata to steal my Sonata and I found my stuff all over the place.” 

  After filing a police report that took about three hours and disrupting his plans with friends, he got a call saying that the police had found his car on Main Street and was wrecked badly.

  After the theft and fixing his car, Brennan started taking precautions to ensure this wouldn’t happen to him again. 

  “I had the dealership update the anti-theft system,” Brennan said. “Now if any glass is smashed, the car just won’t work.” 

  Brennan’s decision aligns with a broader initiative to increase security technology for these vehicles.

  “Hyundai and Kia have developed theft deterrent software for millions of their vehicles that lack an immobilizer and will provide it free of charge to vehicle owners,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a statement about rising Kia and Hyundai thefts “The software updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.” 

  Since the beginning of the fall semester, UMKC Police have reported 4 Kias and 1 Hyundai as stolen.

  So how can UMKC students keep this from happening to them? 

  In September, the UMKC police department released a vehicle safety bulletin offering free steering wheel locks to qualifying Kia vehicles, available for pick up at their headquarters at 5005 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO, and offered advice to take extra precautions to take when securing a vehicle.  

These extra precautions include: 

  • Paying attention to your surroundings.
  • Parking in well-lit areas.
  • Remove any valuables from the car or keep them out of sight such as the trunk or under the seat.
  • Lock all doors, secure windows and don’t forget to close the sunroof.
  • Ensure the vehicle’s anti-theft system and car alarm are activated and working. 
  • Consider using aftermarket anti-theft devices such as: steering wheel locks, glass breakage detectors, steering column locks, brake pedal locks and battery shut off switches.

The campus police department strongly encourages students to say something if they notice anything out of the ordinary, and authorities can be reached at (816)-235-1515.

[email protected]

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