Aerial photo of the CWRU campus at dusk
Photo by Weiming Yuan

Staying safe this summer: Tips on protecting your vehicle—and yourself

While there may be fewer people on Case Western Reserve’s campus over the summer, university police are seeing some increases in crime, especially attempted car theft.

To help keep you—and your belongings—safe, Matt King, captain of patrol operations in the CWRU Police Department, provided a few tips to The Daily.

Vehicle safety

As the university has noted in a series of safety advisories to campus, social media posts publicizing ways to steal certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles have led to an increase in thefts of these models. CWRU Police have seen a significant spike in reports over the past couple of weeks in the neighborhood.

Models most affected appear to be those with traditional key engines (rather than keyless fobs)—in particular, Kias built between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundais built from 2013 to 2021.

Whether or not your vehicle is among these models, there are a few common actions you can take to help prevent theft:

  • Get a free steering wheel lock, then use it as a physical and visual deterrent. Stop by the Public Safety headquarters (1689 E. 115th St.) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays to pick up a free wheel lock. Supply is limited.
  • Take your vehicle key with you; do not leave it in or on your vehicle.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas, if possible.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle, especially if they can be seen from outside. If you must leave them in your vehicle, secure them in your trunk.
  • If leaving your vehicle parked for an extended period of time, check on it often (if possible), or find a friend or colleague who can do so.
  • Consider investing in an anti-theft system to make your vehicle more difficult to steal.

Personal safety

Keeping our community safe is of the utmost importance to CWRU Police. If you ever experience an emergency, call 216.368.3333 immediately, or contact police through the Spartan Safe app or by using one of the 300 blue box phones and 40 blue light phones across campus. 

Here are a few tips to attempt to lessen the risk of becoming a victim of crime:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. This means taking out your earbuds and looking away from your smartphone. In fact, put it away so there’s no risk of someone swiping it while you’re walking.
  • Walk in groups whenever possible—especially at night. Or if you need to walk alone, call a Safe Ride vehicle or a 24/7 walking escort.
  • Sign up for training. CWRU Police offers self-defense and active-aggressor-response classes, as well as crime prevention and safety presentations for departments, organizations or offices.
  • Download the Spartan Safe app so you can contact police—or other important contacts—quickly, submit anonymous tips, ask a friend to track your walk to ensure you make it safely to your destination, and more.

Finally, be sure to log in to Rave to ensure your contact information is up to date. If an emergency occurs, the fastest, most effective way for CWRU to contact you is via your text or push notification from the Spartan Safe app. Make sure your mobile phone number is listed, as well as any additional contact information points you need.

For more information on safety at Case Western Reserve, visit