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Car break-ins on the rise: how to protect yourself, your valuables

Automobile break-ins and thefts on or near campus have been steadily increasing as the weather gets colder and continues to worsen.
Image by Ava Weinreis

Ashley Krom, a senior at the University of Minnesota, woke up on the morning of Sept. 29 to discover her Ford Escape was missing. After a month without her car, Krom’s friend stumbled upon it in a guest parking lot of The Bridges on Oct. 31, It had a shattered windshield, new license plates, a missing battery and was stripped of all 15 bumper stickers. The intruder also scrawled the word “hoes” on her dashboard in permanent marker.

Everything that had been inside the car in September was missing. In place of Krom’s belongings were Ziploc baggies of what she said appeared to be stolen goods.

“My life was in my car and everything was gone,” Krom said.

Stolen vehicles and car break-ins are increasing in Dinkytown. According to Garret Parten, spokesperson for Minneapolis Police Department, about 16 cars are broken into or stolen per day across the city.

Some students reported having their cars broken into with no harm done to their vehicle.

Atlee Tomasoski, a senior at the University, said his car was broken into and rummaged through on Sept. 22, but the intruder broke into the car without damaging it. In each case, the robber found a way into the vehicle by forcing a window down, manipulating a hatchback or tampering with the lock on the car.

Caitlyn Verhasselt, a senior at the University, said her car was broken into on Oct. 31 and she discovered the break-in the next morning.

“Everything had been rooted through, all of my consoles were open, and I noticed there was a black mask left on the seat that wasn’t mine,” Verhasselt said.

In the Dinkytown area, multiple break-ins have occurred in the same week from the same neighborhoods and driveways. Parten said people can take small steps to help prevent someone from attempting to steal their vehicles.

“So often, the smallest deterrent will cause the robber to move on and leave your car alone,” Parten said.

Parten provided several preventative actions vehicle owners should take to avoid their cars being stolen or broken into. Avoid leaving your car running and empty, do not keep any valuables inside of your car and if possible, park in a garage or a well-lit area.

Additionally, Parten suggested owners purchase a tracking device, like an Airtag, as well as a steering wheel lock in the case of an attempted theft.

“A stolen vehicle has a great effect on people and it is a very important issue, and we will do what we can,” Parten said. “However, prevention is key here. It’s always speculation, but the facts are telling me that the ease of stealing these cars is leading to the increase.”

Parten also said Kia and Hyundai cars comprise one-third of the vehicles that get broken into due to flaws in the design.

“We need the community to step up,” Parten said. “If you see someone tampering with a car, breaking a window, walking around pulling on door handles, call 911. Report that behavior. Keep your eyes out for each other.”

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  • Alextheriot
    Dec 10, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    She is in big shocked
    I promise