Dozens of cars broken into on U of R campus before commencement

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For weeks police have been reporting Kias and Hyundais are getting broken into. But one university is concerned by an increase in reports, worrying some students. Unfortunately, the break-ins didn’t stop for graduation.

The University of Rochester told News10NBC that about 30 cars were broken into Thursday night. This was the night before graduation day. Most owners didn’t have anything stolen, but are dealing with smashed windows and broken doors.

“We have a group chat online, similar to the WhatsApp,” said graduate Huiyang Wang. “Students have a chat there, so some reported seeing several cars were smashed in the parking lot there.”

Wang lives in Whipple Park, a complex for graduate students and some families. She said about eight cars were among those broken into last week. Thankfully, her car is fine.

“It would be great, if we can like raise attention to the public,” said Huiyang Wang.

“I know at least like three people that have had their cars broken into, or like something happen to their cars,” said Dylan Phan, who’s been a student for four years.

He’s been living on-campus, and said car break-ins are not uncommon.

“I don’t have my own personal car here, I just borrow other people’s cars, but sometimes it can be kind of worrying to park over there,” he said, gesturing to lots farther away from where campus grounds and dorm rooms are.

Both students hope the school will take extra security measures for the next group of students who move in.

Phan said the school should provide more accessible parking on campus closer to their housing, as some students have had cars broken into farther away.

“Make it more accessible for students to get spots on campus, even teachers have trouble sometimes,” he said.

“Because maybe something even worse could happen,” said Wang. She says the school has not provided a notice specific to Thursday’s incidents.

News10NBC reached out to Rochester Police to learn more about the investigation, but the told us it was an investigation for U of R’s Public Safety and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The school sent the following letter to students on May 5:

“The Department of Public Safety continues to see increasing instances of car thefts—most all being Kias and Hyundais—as well as theft of items from vehicles. DPS is continuing to provide extra attention to the University’s parking areas. 

“This is alarming and frustrating for car owners, and it’s happening across the country,” said DPS Interim Chief Gerald Pickering. “We are working with area law enforcement agencies and the regional auto theft task force in an attempt to identify suspects, as well as assisting in recovering stolen vehicles.” DPS provides an FAQ on how to help protect your vehicle from theft, but Pickering also emphasizes the following actions that are most important in helping to prevent these thefts: 

  1. Use a theft prevention tool, such as a steering wheel lock. DPS still is able to provide a free wheel lock to anyone in the University community who owns or drives a Hyundai or Kia. While supplies last, individuals can pick up a steering wheel lock at DPS headquarters, 612 Wilson Blvd., River Campus, by showing a University ID and proof of owning or driving a Hyundai or Kia vehicle, such as a vehicle registration card. 
  2. Take the extra time to stow away valuable items and keep them hidden from view.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings when parking. Park in well-lighted areas at night when possible.
  4. Lock your car and activate alarm systems.

 Whenever you observe criminal activity or something suspicious, IMMEDIATELY call or text Public Safety at 585-275-3333.