Vehicle theft continues to spark conversation

A recent vehicle theft has left Hamline students feeling unsafe on campus


Alex Bailey and Anika Besst

Early into Hamline’s fall semester, students received a campus wide email about a vehicle theft occurring in the Hamline Apartments parking lot. This is part of a longer string of incidents that have been building in recent years. Many members of the Hamline campus felt the shock and fear from this recent event, but some students have been feeling unsafe on campus for much longer. 

 The email explains that the incident started when two individuals were seen looking into cars sitting along Englewood Avenue at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 1. The individuals proceeded to steal a student’s car, which was parked behind the Apartments. The email included that a  Hamline Public Safety (HPS) vehicle was struck by these individuals and no one was hurt. 

Director of Public Safety Illiana Cantu Delgado told the Oracle that there has not been a spike on campus in carjacking theft, but there has been an uptick in the surrounding St. Paul city. 

“City wise, there has been an increase which is part of a bigger conversation around the socioeconomic landscape of the city at large,” Delgado said. 

In an effort to begin a fresh approach to campus safety, Cantu Delgado has overseen the beginning of off-duty St. Paul police officers doing exterior patrol of the campus. 

The only building they enter is the Anderson center due to its accessibility to the public. Otherwise, these officers drive in their vehicles patrolling areas around the Hamline campus. 

“It is not a complete fix, but it is progress and I would take progress over nothing anyday,” Cantu Delgado said. 

Hamline students, faculty and staff park in the university lots. Theft has been experienced both in these lots and around the Hamline- Midway neighborhood and community. (Freddie Beurgin Witt)

Since the beginning of 2022, there have been 28 reported thefts related to vehicles listed on the Hamline Daily Crime Log including autotheft, theft from the car and theft of parts of vehicles. This number is double that of 2021 at this time of the year. Increasingly, in the past few years there has been more catalytic convertor theft, something that has remained consistent on campus, with an uptick in the Twin Cities.

Recently Kia cars have been experiencing the most autotheft because of software that allows for quicker carjacking. 

Some advice Delgado suggests includes investing in an Airtag to place securely in the trunk of a vehicle so it can be tracked with a person’s phone. She also recommends products like The Club which is a steering wheel lock that is often a deterrent for autotheft. 

When at all possible, Delgado also suggests leaving any valuables out of sight or keeping cars picked up in an effort to protect your belongings. 

“It is never the fault of the victim when the crime occurs,” HPS wrote in the latest email. 

Delgado reminded students, staff and faculty that they can reach out to HPS at anytime regarding questions, help or support. 

“Speaking out and promoting dialogue creates awareness,” Cantu Delgado said.

To view the Hamline Daily Crime Log, visit this link: