MILWAUKEE — Members of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) sat in front of the Common Council’s Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Through a series of meetings, the committee is bringing forth key stakeholders and looking into a pressing issue; stolen cars and reckless driving.
“During October, November, there started to be an increase of it. It wasn’t particularly notable until that trend continued,” said Nick DeSiato, MPD’s chief of staff.
According to Milwaukee police, reported car thefts have more than doubled since 2020. Kias and Hyundai's alone make up around 70 percent of all stolen cars this year.
Ald. Michael Murphy asking about ways to address the manufactures, encouraging them to produce cars more resistant to theft.
“There is an outside lawsuit being filed against Kia and Hyundai for a defective product that was being sold and I’m wondering if the city’s attorney joining that private lawsuit,” Murphy asked.
The City Attorney’s Office noted it currently is not involved in any suit against Hyundai and Kia, but is looking at other legal options.
“Our most promising theory of defense is a public nuisance one in order to collect on behalf of the city,” said Yolanda McGowan with the City Attorney’s Office.
Milwaukee police said they’ve been in contact with both Kia and Hyundai about the issues.
“They ultimately had agreed to provide us with effectively unlimited auto locks in 2020 and 2021, Kia and Hyundai,” DeSiato said.
“It's time to roll up our sleeves. The community is ready. Is the city ready?” said activist Tracey Dent.
Dent, an advocate for safe streets is pushing for legislation requiring licenses to purchase vehicles, and harder punishments for auto thefts.
"If these people who are stealing cars know this can happen to them, maybe they would think twice,” he said.
Members on the council’s Judiciary Committee say they plan to continue breaking down the issue further with other decision makers in upcoming meetings.