COLUMBUS, Ohio — Instead of being the victim, students at The Ohio State University are working with OSU’s Police Department on prevention this weekend with their Steering Wheel Lock Program, giving 200 steering wheel locks to the most vulnerable students.
“On the student side, for many of us, that's our livelihoods, when you lose your car, you lose your transportation, potentially you have to pay for damages, potentially you have to wait for it in the shop,” said Zaida Jenkins, Chair of OSU’s Undergraduate Student Government.
She said the uptick in car thefts for Kia and Hyundai owners has pushed students to find ways to keep student vehicles safe.
“I have friends who have waited a few months to get cars out of the shop after they've been stolen and crashed,” Jenkins shared.
Lt. Bruce Allen of the university's police department said they prioritize off-campus students, particularly Kias and Hyundais.
"OSU PD, we're doing everything we can to prevent that, 24/7 patrols, LPR systems in use, we recently implemented cameras all throughout campus, including in garages,” said Allen.
He says all prevention work is paying off, but the demand was higher than expected.
“Fortunately, it is ticking down. We've only had five stolen vehicles since July of this year,” said Allen. "This program's been incredibly popular. I think we already have over 500 applications.”
They say they are continuing to take more students on the wait list to provide hundreds more locks in the spring.
"My hope is that any potential people that coming in would want to steal a car would see the steering wheel lock and know their odds aren't so great, they're going to be going forward and backward, and that's really it, so hopefully that deters on the car theft."