Milwaukee police offering free kill switches to curb car thefts

Police hope to cut down car thefts
Posted at 7:03 PM, Apr 24, 2017

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Police Department is partnering with the Auto Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee (ADAMM) to install free kill switches in certain vehicles with the hope of cutting down car thefts.

The switches are being donated, and technicians will install them on-site.

"There's been a lot of cars stolen in the recent months and death and chases," said Willie Hewing.

"[The program will] slow down the chases also. I think it's a very good idea," Hewing continued.

Hewing is referring to the MPD's effort to address motor vehicle theft. Hewing lives in Bay View, and said vehicle theft in the city is a major concern.

"You got a lot of young teenagers out here," Hewing said.

"They don't have anything else to do. they just go and steal cars," he continued.

MPD announced its effort to combat that kind of behavior Monday by continuing a program first launched in 2014.

In a post on social media, the department confirmed drivers who own a Dodge Caravan or Stratus (2002-2006), Honda Civic or Accord (1993-1997) made within a certain year can get a kill switch for free. According to the department, data shows, these cars are stolen more often than others and are easier to steal. Newer model, however, have advanced security features, and Brian Schweinert, a local mechanic in Bay View, agrees.

"The chips are a little bit easier to bypass, the keys are easier to finagle so they're just a little bit easier for the people to steal right now," Schwinert said.

However, MPD said its theft deterrent efforts have helped decrease vehicle related crime. This year to date, 1,320 vehicle thefts have happened so far, 522 fewer than this time last year.

"[The kill switches will] stop the car from being driven away," Schweinert said.

"You'll still have a broken window, you'll still have all the issues of someone breaking into your car. However, someone's not going to drive away with it," he continued.

MPD will host two installation sessions, one Saturday, April 29 and the other Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, 3921 W. Lincoln Avenue and City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, 3850 N. 35th Street. The department asks participants bring a valid ID and their car.


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