Milwaukee is set to surpass 10,000 vehicle thefts this year. The bulk of those stolen vehicles are Hyundais and Kias — and the city seems to be so fed up that local ABC News affiliate WISN 2 reports city officials are considering suing the automaker because of the thefts.
Officials say that nearly 30 cars are being stolen each day. At first, many thought that teens were the main perpetrators of the thefts, but Milwaukee PD chief of staff Nick DeSiato thinks older people are getting in on the action too. But he also doesn’t think you can pin it on just one age group. From Urban Milwaukee:
I can’t pinpoint a particular demographic. I can’t pinpoint a particular area,” said DeSiato. “I think it skews older than people would think.
“We hear that a lot, that it’s young people that are doing this,” he said. “But I think it’s an older population.”
The thefts have gotten so bad that Hyundai/Kia offered owners free steering wheel locks.
In a filing on December 6th, the city said it’s exploring possible legal avenues to sue the automakers. One possibility is suing the companies under public nuisance laws.
In any event, the city wants to compel the automakers to be part of the solution. In a letter sent to the automakers earlier this year, the city highlighted the sudden jump in thefts among its vehicles.
We recently asked our police department to review what we perceived to be a spike in vehicle theft. The results were disturbing. To date in 2021, the number of thefts has increased 181% over the same period in 2020. This spike began in November 2020 and was almost immediately associated by police officials with automobiles manufactured by your company and one other. Vehicles manufactured by your two companies have accounted for 66% of those stolen in 2021 – a number wildly out of proportion with their presence in this city.
The city is also considering joining a private lawsuit that has been filed against the automakers over what’s being described as “subpar security measures.”