By Jesse Dolojan, Education and Enrichment Coordinator
Approximately 10 students’ cars have been broken into over last few weeks
Numerous car thefts have been reported by Xavier student drivers near campus since the beginning of the fall semester. Car-related crimes have been concentrated on Kia and Hyundai cars.
Xavier University Police Department’s (XUPD) Lieutenant Adrian Fuller — who is in charge of various staff investigations and policy oversights — stated that as many as 10 cars have been stolen or broken into near or off campus and that two have been recovered so far.
According to XUPD, all cars stolen or broken into on or around campus have been Kia or Hyundai models.
“This is a national issue. If you weren’t aware, this is a design flaw that Kia and Hyundai discovered and reported several years ago,” Fuller said.
“The University of Cincinnati actually put out a public safety notice just like we did. What we’re being led to believe as this is a roaming gang, plural of juveniles, who are targeting all Kias and Hyundais,” he said.
“If you’re a Kia or Hyundai owner, contact your dealer and make sure that your car isn’t susceptible. Go get the update. They fix the problem, but you have to bring your car to them for them to fix it. Hide all your valuables and make sure that there’s nothing in the car that’s attractive,” Fuller said.
Additionally, XUPD has sent out several campus announcements via email informing students of the break-ins and offering a steering wheel lock device for students with Kia or Hyundai vehicles.
One of the 10 students who had their car broken into, junior biomedical sciences major Victoria Schildknecht, shared the details of the experience.
“Two minutes right before I had to leave for work (my friend) Abby called me. She said, ‘Hey just want to let you know my car got broken into, and I went to go check your car and I saw it was broken into.’ And, I’m running down the stairs and, yeah, the window was smashed in,” Schildknecht said.
After reporting the break-in to Norwood Police Department, Schildknecht was notified by Angie Kneflin, Xavier’s Director of Care Management, about her vehicle. She was then directed to the Student Emergency Fund Application, a fund worth up to $1 thousand available in order to meet financial issues that arise for students.
“I need $1000 for my car repairs because they’re $4,000, and I don’t have the money for that. I have to pay for living, I have to pay for food. I have to pay for electricity. I have to pay for all that,” Schildknecht explained.
In response to the break ins, XUPD has increased its patrols in order to prevent more vehicle break ins on and off campus.
“We are aggressively patrolling our parking lots. Now, we always have, but we’ve stepped up our patrols and even added additional staffing in order to keep patrols in those parking lots,” Fuller said.
Schildknecht noted that this response was delayed.
“I feel like it’s a little bit late for that because, the majority of students that I know who have Kias and Hyundais, their cars got broken into,” Schildknecht said.
“I feel like XUPD is doing the best that they can with the resources that they have. And I feel like the fact that they’re teaming up with Norwood PD should give students a peace of mind,” Schildknecht said.
Junior health services administration major Kyra Ennis had her car stolen and later recovered last month with significant damage done to the vehicle. She suggested that University Station increase their surveillance of their parking lots to address the crime taking place.
“University Station needs to have added security measures in their parking lots, whether cameras or other measures, anything is better than what they have now which is nothing.” Ennis said.
“XUPD is on the right track with providing resources to those who need them, but I feel like it’s not as publicized as it could be,” she continued.