Police chief vows to crack down on car thefts

Posted at 4:34 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 15:57:29-04

MILWAUKEE -- Staggering new numbers were unveiled Thursday about the number of car thefts in the City of Milwaukee. As thieves continue to target car dealerships, the numbers continue to rise. 

Crime data provided by Milwaukee Police show a total of 2,196 car thefts from Jan. 1 to May 16. That's an average of 16 cars stolen every day.

"For a subset of juvenile offenders, this is a way towards having a neighborhood reputation and having street cred," MPD Chief Ed Flynn said during an interview with TODAY'S TMJ4. "It's not just the property crime. Last year more people were killed by stolen cars than by armed robbers because they drive like crazy."

The recent rash of car thefts have occurred in MPD District 4, which encompasses Milwaukee's northwest side. On Wednesday, a group of suspects stole three cars from Russ Darrow Honda at 91st and Brown Deer Rd. Earlier in the week on Monday, thieves stole seven cars from John Amato Hyundai at 76th and Dean Rd.

"We're not blaming the victim," Chief Flynn said, when asked how to combat these crimes. "But everybody who lives in a big city knows there a basic steps you take to make yourself less like to be a victim of crime. When it comes to a car dealership with great big windows with lots of cars on the lot, you secure the keys."

Flynn said officers have relocated almost all the cars, and have made several arrests. The chief says it's up to the juvenile courts to ensure the young suspects learn their lessons.