CALVERTON PARK, Mo. – Due to a recent uptick in car theft, the Calverton Park Police Department near St. Louis has teamed up with Hyundai to give citizens free anti-theft steering wheel locks.
Calverton Park Police Lt. Sean Gibbons says the city went from zero car thefts to six in just a month’s time, enough for a department representative to contact Hyundai about a partnership. The two have since joined forces to give residents access to free anti-theft steering wheel locks.
Hyundai has already sent two dozen steering wheel locks to Calverton Park Police, and the department has given out about 10 locks so far to inquiring residents.
“As with any crime, we want to delay the criminal in order to get them caught,” Gibbons told The Heartlander. “It’s always better to deter them and not have the crime at all. You can do that through a number of methods like parking vehicles in the driveway close to houses, keeping lights on at night [and] having motion-sensor lights on the vehicle.”
According to Gibbons, Hyundai and Kia are two carmakers popular among thieves. He says the car thieves will often break the window, remove the top of a column and take out the ignition cylinder to work the switch behind the start.
Calverton Park Police Department encourages residents and visitors to take belongings out of vehicles, especially items such as change, guns, or anything in plain sight. Gibbons also recommends security camera systems, but says some thieves have simply become bolder since the pandemic.
“Unfortunately since it became the standard to wear masks and acceptable during COVID, we have seen quite a few people wearing masks,” he said. “Obviously, if they’re in properties where they are not supposed to be or they are out at night creeping around in the yard wearing a mask, that’s probably not for protection. It’s probably to keep them from being identified.”
Most car thieves do not work alone and generally drive around in already-stolen vehicles in order to locate new prospects, Gibbons said. Thieves will typically drop one or two helpers off and move to the next theft.
Residents are encouraged to reach out to the Calverton Park Police Department to inquire about getting their free steering wheel locks.