This is a precautionary security bulletin to share information on crime trends recently reported by law enforcement.
While no such motor vehicle thefts have occurred on campus, we wanted to ensure that the community was aware that law enforcement officials have reported an increase in thefts or attempted thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars. The thefts exploit a security design flaw Kia vehicles manufactured in 2011 or after and Hyundai vehicles manufactured in 2015 or after.
The flaw, which makes the vehicles more susceptible to theft, is caused by a lack of an "immobilizer system," a piece of hardware that keeps the engine from starting unless the proper key is recognized. Stolen Kia vehicles usually have "insert-and-turn" steel keys; targeted Hyundai vehicles lack engine immobilizers, which became standard on all Hyundai vehicles produced after Nov. 2, 2021.
Theft of Vehicle Wheels -
in the past two weeks, Caltech Security has received reports of one theft of a vehicle's wheels and two attempted thefts of wheels from cars parked in campus lots. The thefts occurred overnight. In the two attempted thefts, the lug nuts were removed from the wheels before the thief or thieves fled the area.
In response to these thefts, Caltech Campus Security has increased both foot and vehicle patrols. Contact Security to report any suspicious persons. Do not confront them.
Caltech Security is encouraging individuals who park on campus overnight to check their vehicles for loose or removed lug nuts before driving.
To help protect your car from theft:
- When possible, park in well-lit areas and close to building entrances.
- If you have a garage at your house, park your car inside and keep the garage door shut.
- Consider purchasing locking lug nuts and/or wheel locks
- Calibrate your car's alarm to go off when it detects vibration.
If You See Something, Say Something
The public can play an important role in maintaining a safe campus and preventing or deterring crime. If you see something suspicious, report it to Security by calling Ext. 5000 from any on-campus phone, or (626) 395-5000 from your cell phone.
What to Report:
- Who or what you saw
- When you saw it
- Where it occurred
- Why it's suspicious
In addition, we ask for your help in making the campus as safe as possible by taking the following steps:
- Lock and secure your vehicle when you park.
- Do not leave valuables or packages in plain view in your vehicle.
- Report to Security individuals who "tailgate" or enter secure buildings and restricted areas without keys or the proper credentials by slipping in behind someone else.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you, day, and night.
- Trust your instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, get out or getaway.
- If you feel you are being followed, move to a well-populated or lighted area or building.
- If you need emergency help, call Ext. 5000 on campus (626) 395-5000 if you are off campus, or call 911.
Thank you for your vigilance,
Caltech Campus Security