BREAKING: Public Safety to begin distributing steering wheel locks for some drivers

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Will Baker

After a series of car thefts on campus, Public Safety will now be distributing steering wheel locks for Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

Will Baker, Multimedia Editor and Social Media Editor

Cal State LA Public Safety announced the distribution of steering wheel locks to owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in an email sent to all faculty, staff, and students.

To be eligible, vehicles must be manufactured between the years of 2016-2021, since those models do not have an engine mobilizer, according to the email.

An engine mobilizer is a security feature that does not allow the car to be started without keys being present.

On Aug. 25, the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted a community alert about recent vehicle thefts shown on social media.

“The Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division is aware of a recent social media trend regarding vehicle thefts,” the tweet said. 

The alert even stated that in 2021, Kia and Hyundai thefts made up 13% of all vehicles stolen in LA county. That percentage is now up to 20% for 2022.

The cars affected by the trend are any models made between 2010-2021, although Cal State LA Public Safety will only give the wheel locks to 2016-2021 models.

Both Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been the primary target of recent thefts in the Los Angeles area. Last semester, the UT reported an attempted theft of a white Kia Optima, where the perpetrators used another student’s stolen vehicle to get away.

The student whose car was stolen in that story wouldn’t even be eligible for the steering wheel lock because of its model year of 2014. 

“Steering wheel locks can be picked up at the Department of Public Safety from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday,” the email continues, “Students, faculty and staff must provide a campus ID and vehicle registration. The steering wheel locks will be available only while supplies last.”

A program will also be starting on Oct. 1, for Hyundai owners, according to the email. Hyundai owners will be able to purchase directly from them, which will help prevent thieves from being able to gain access. Hyundai will share more information on this program when it becomes available.

At the time of posting, the UT was unable to get a comment from a Public Safety member about further details on this initiative.