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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Kia and Hyundai car thefts in Fresno are on the rise

Venue Hyundai at Fresno State on Feb. 22. Kia and Hyundai drivers are being encouraged to take precautions with their vehicles following a rise in robberies of these cars.

Car thefts in Fresno are prominent.

According to the California Highway Patrol, about 11.9% of California vehicle thefts in 2023 occurred in the Central Valley. That includes; Kern, Fresno, San Joaquin, Tulare, Stanislaus, Merced, Kings and Madera Counties.

There was a 60.3% decrease in car thefts within Fresno County from 2022-23, but the number of stolen vehicles in those two years totaled up to 7,139.

The Fresno Police Department recently notified Fresno State’s Police Department of an increase in vehicle thefts, specifically targeting Hyundai and Kia vehicles in areas surrounding campus.

To combat this, Fresno Police Department and Fresno State Police Department are providing students and community members who drive Kias or Hyundais with free steering wheel locks.

In order to receive a lock individuals must provide their vehicle model, vehicle registration, insurance information and key and or key fob.

Locks at the Fresno State PD station have run out but Sergeant Diana Trueba Vega, assisting public information officer for Fresno PD, said the locks are available at local substations on a first come, first serve basis Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Here is where they can be picked up:

  • Southeast 224 S. Argyle St.
  • Southwest 1211 Fresno St.
  • Northwest 3080 West Shaw Ave.
  • Northeast 1450 East Teague Ave.
  • Central-2nd floor of Manchester Mall
  • 3502 North Blackstone Avenue Suite 201

There has been an upsurge in Kia thefts after specific vehicle models’ security flaws were exposed online, and due to the “Kia Boyz” TikTok trend, where teenagers record themselves stealing the vehicles.

According to CBS News, in 2021, 410 Kias were stolen, over 4,000 in 2022 and 5,341 as of October 2023.

Vega shared some safety precautions people can take with the recent spike in car thefts.

“We encourage people that own all vehicles to secure their vehicles, and not leave valuables inside,” Vega said. “We encourage all owners of 2011 to 2021 Kia and Hyundai vehicles to take advantage of obtaining a free steering wheel lock free of charge. We also encourage people with these vehicles to go to the dealership to get a software update, which will prevent any auto thefts.”

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