Get A Hobby


Alyx Goldensoph

My car, prior to its theft after I first received it as a gift.

I own a 2014 Black Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The inside has vines draping the ceiling, a sloth wheel cover and numerous political stickers on the back bumper. Notes from my significant other are scattered throughout the front. A Jack Skellington decoration sits on the floor somewhere and a pair of broken sunglasses is in the center console. That car is important—precious to me. 

Between the hours of 1:45 and 2:40 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, it was stolen from my driveway. The keys were still in the car from a friend using it during the day. They left them there because my neighborhood is full of kind people and “It’s just one night…Nothing’s going to happen.” 

Lesson learned. 

Car thefts in Iowa have risen so much that Brian Tabick from KCRG has reported on it. 

“Police say there has been a string of car thefts in Eastern Iowa and a felony lane gang made a stop. That’s a traveling group of criminals who go from town to town, stealing vehicles, money, bank cards, checkbooks, and more from people who don’t lock their cars.”

The article describes a 13% increase in stolen vehicles in the last year in the Eastern Iowa area. One in 32 people is likely to fall victim to property crimes in Cedar Rapids. NeighborhoodScout reported 557 motor vehicle thefts within the last year.

There has also been a national increase in motor vehicle theft. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Data Explorer, in 2019 the rate per 100,000 victims of vehicle theft was 220.8 compared to the 2020 rate, sitting at 246.

The rate of motor theft offenses by population per 100,000 people every year since 2011. Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime Data Explorer

When pinpointing why there is an increase in vehicle thefts, two key points come to mind: social media and economic conditions.

COVID-19’s effect on the world is a broken record at this point, but not only did it create an economical crisis, but the crisis also created a family tree of problems. The virus wiped out a huge portion of the working industry and a plethora of workers quit their job to gain unemployment benefits. Additionally, there was a lack of spending money during COVID-19 especially in the vehicle and gas industry because most people stayed in their homes. Once the majority of COVID-19 had passed, people started buying cars again to travel and rising gas prices caused a spike in the expenses cars cause. This spike makes stolen cars look a lot nicer because they come at no expense to the thief.

Another contributing factor may be social media. Common trends across several websites have been creating guides on how to steal other’s vehicles. While I’m sure many of you have seen the trend, I refuse to glorify it and provide more attention to it by including them in this article.

Whether it is a car, a wallet, the keys to your house or even the 10 dollars you hide just in case you need gas, theft feels invasive. You may no longer feel like you have privacy or like you’re being watched. Getting stolen from is terrifying and can leave you feeling paranoid. I now lock my bedroom door on top of the already locked-up house I live in just in case they decide to come back for more. 

It’s ridiculous to say that we can’t leave our cars and houses unlocked in today’s society but mistakes happen and even locks don’t always work. Granted it was not the best choice to let someone else drive my car, but the idea that my friend helped me out and made a mistake other people make on a daily basis led to my car getting stolen is almost unbelievable. 

Alyx Goldensoph

We filed a police report and the officer asked if the neighbors had any cameras. My next-door neighbors have a ring doorbell that showed the time frame of the theft. It caught what looked like two to four kids or young adults running past their house with a flashlight in hand. 

Updates and leads concerning my car and who confiscated it are nonexistent. As the days pass, it gets increasingly harder to get to where I need to be and do the things I need to do because I don’t have transportation and—shocker—other people have lives and can’t drop everything to help me when I need to go to show choir practice or go to work.

Life is busy and my car gave me the freedom to do what I want. Vehicles are a necessity for everyone. Cedar Rapids’ public transportation is not sufficient. For those who are busy and have tight schedules, relying on a bus to get you to the exact location you need to be on time doesn’t work. 

Having an integral part of your life ripped from you is devastating and has long-term consequences, such as losing your job or being late for important events. However, this is not an isolated incident rather it reveals a larger systemic issue within our society. Loads of people in vastly different financial situations get their cars stolen. For some it is a slight inconvenience, for others, it is a massive issue.

I would love to give advice to whoever has decided to steal my car. Get a hobby. Try painting, making music, gardening or going on a hike. It’s hard to trust nowadays because of people like you. For everyone else, please be careful. Don’t be like me, having a healthy amount of suspicion can save a lot of pain.