The number of stolen vehicles and attempted vehicle thefts reported to UMPD more than tripled between 2022 and 2023, according to UMPD crime logs. 

This spike comes as Prince George’s County saw more than 8,500 stolen vehicles in 2023, a more than 140 percent increase from the previous year.

About half of the 31 stolen and attempted stolen vehicles UMPD responded to in 2023 involved Kias or Hyundais, according to UMPD spokesperson Lt. Rosanne Hoaas. Stolen and attempted stolen vehicle data does not include e-scooters, but does include golf carts and gator-type vehicles, Hoaas said.



Hyundais and Kias are also the most frequently stolen vehicles in the county, according to a Prince George’s County Police spokesperson.

The spike in car crimes on and around campus is part of a national trend. More vehicles are being stolen in the region, likely because of a TikTok trend that taught people how to steal specific makes and models of vehicles, Hoaas said.

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Samantha Marton, a senior government and politics major, said she woke up one morning in October 2023 to a call from the Landmark leasing office informing her that her 2014 Dodge Journey had been broken into.



A Prince George’s County police officer showed her that her car and others had been broken into the night before, Marton said.

The front windows of Marton’s car were smashed on the driver and passenger sides, but just $2 had been stolen from her car.

“I had just gone to the liquor store the night previous, so I had gotten just two bottles of wine and then I had golf clubs in the back,” she said. “Definitely more valuable and I think more interesting to take than $2 dollars.”

Marton said the situation was frustrating and felt she didn’t get reprieve.

Thefts from motor vehicles also increased about 40 percent from 2022 to 2023, according to UMPD crime logs.

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Jaclyn Jacobs now avoids parking in the Mowatt Lane Garage after all four tires were stolen from her Toyota RAV4 on September 26, 2023.

“I was really surprised that this happened because I figured I parked in an on-campus parking garage that was supposed to be secured at night,” Jacobs, a sophomore accounting major, said.

Thefts from motor vehicles can include any article stolen from an automobile whether it was locked or unlocked, according to definitions from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which UMPD uses to guide their classifications. This does not include motor vehicle parts or accessories.

While car companies such as Hyundai and Kia have responded by offering software updates, there are also preventive actions car owners in the area can take. These include getting a steering wheel lock, keeping close track of keys or key fobs and never leaving your car running unattended.