Steering Wheel Lock

UMB Police and Public Safety has given away more than 200 locks to students, faculty, staff, and community members and will host additional events in the coming weeks.

The line wound down the hallway as dozens of University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) students and employees turned out at the SMC Campus Center on Tuesday, Jan. 30, to receive a free steering wheel lock. Just five minutes into the event, they were already gone.

“The turnout was amazing!” says Thomas Leone, MSL, assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police. “This was a great opportunity for us to connect with our community and answer questions. We were blown away!”

UMB Police and Public Safety and Hyundai Motor America partnered to help prevent vehicle theft. Over four days, the department gave away 240 steering wheel locks to community members, faculty, and staff.

At UMB, just three vehicles were stolen in 2023. However, across the country, vehicle thefts are skyrocketing. Since 2020, vehicle thefts rose by more than 1,000 percent. The rise follows a coordinated effort on social media teaching criminals how to target Hyundai and Kia vehicles.  

“Crime remains low at UMB, but taking small steps — like using a steering wheel lock — can deter criminals,” Leone says.

In addition to the SMC Campus Center, UMB Police and Public Safety hosted two giveaway events at the University of Baltimore — where the University has a policing partnership — and another at the UMB Community Engagement Center.

“More than 30 neighbors showed up to get their free lock and talk with officers,” says Sarah Porter, MSW, associate director of community engagement programs. “Events like this show UMB’s commitment to stretch beyond our campus to support our neighbors and keep our community safe.”

UMB Police and Public Safety has already ordered hundreds of additional steering wheel locks from Hyundai Motor America to meet the high demand from the community. Additional events will be held in the coming weeks.

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