Car theft epidemic in Milwaukee is bad, but it’s been worse: Police say juveniles “find it fun”

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MILWAUKEE -- Leaders with the City of Milwaukee's Public Safety Committee on Thursday, February 18th got an overview of the growing number of auto thefts in Milwaukee -- particularly by juveniles. Surprisingly, as bad as it seems right now -- it has been worse.

Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee Police Department

"It's a fad right now for a small segment of the community, juveniles in particular, to steal vehicles," William Jessup, Milwaukee Police Department assistant chief said.

Jessup told the committee there has been an uptick in auto thefts over the past two years, and prior to that, there was a decrease for a number of years.

"In fact, even with the uptick, we still have fewer auto thefts in 2015 than we did in 2007," Jessup said.

Police say the car theft epidemic was actually worse in the early to mid-90s.

So what has led to the uptick now?

City of Milwaukee Public Safety Committee

City of Milwaukee Public Safety Committee

"It's hard to say -- but we do see juveniles committing these crimes, going on social media and bragging about these crimes and in many cases stealing more than one vehicle in a day. They find it to be fun," Jessup said.

William Jessup, Milwaukee Police Department assistant chief

William Jessup, Milwaukee Police Department assistant chief

From January 1st through February 8th, 2016, carjackings increased 103% when compared with the same time period in 2015.

Jessup said many of the offenders are being caught and arrested.

Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 160% increase in juvenile arrests, but Jessup said many of these juveniles are back out on the streets quickly.

"When we take a look at the deterrence theory, if there are no swift and severe sanctions, the juveniles learn nothing from the arrest that was made," Jessup said.

Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee Police Department

City of Milwaukee Public Safety Committee

City of Milwaukee Public Safety Committee

Alderwoman Milele Coggs says more information is needed to address the problem, including what the offenders are charged with and the consequences, whether they reoffend, where they live, and what resources are available for youth in those areas.

"All of that's real data that's out there that I think has to be captured as we talk realistically about solutions." :06 and where break downs are and what needs to be fixed," Coggs said.

More adults continue to be arrested for auto thefts than juveniles, but the increase by percentage is higher with juveniles.


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  • Deshon10

    What more info do you need??? These bad ass kids are terrorizing the city and injuring/ killing other people in the process. And taking cars that people worked hard for. What else is needed??? Crack down on this mess ASAP!!! I can’t believe she said that! Smh.

    • stryker

      I can’t believe she tried to delete an email regarding safety in her district without reading it. I knew she was bad but I didn’t think she’d stoop that low. I busted her BIG TIME and got what I wanted for the kids in our neighborhood. She’s as bad as that jailed RACIST CROOK McGEE….

  • latisha

    Since it’s the wild west out there they should start hanging car thief’s like they did with cattle russlers in the wild west. Do it at red arrow park just to get the point across to little thug’s not to mess wit da law.

  • larry

    Blacks are in it for themselves. if all the whites would move tomorrow they be happy. Worst racist in the world, and the rest of the world knows blacks in usa are nothing but djangos on crack.

  • stryker

    COGGS SUCKS!! She does NOT care about her constituents!! She’s been known to delete emails without reading them, if she’s in the office………..

  • molon labe

    “Deterrence Theory? Never heard of it. WTF?
    He should know better than to go around shooting at things, especially people!! Your OWN people. Who is responsible for bringing a child up like this? Who promoted that acting like this is ok? I expect MORE from the Auntie, Mama, Sister or “adults”–and I use that term VERY loosley–in the communities where these “shootings” are taking place. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for failing to raise a respectful young man/woman. Do the right thing, not the wrong thing. I wish we could get away from this thug raising thug paradigm. It’s starts with the raising of the child in a ethical, moral way; to do right not wrong and get a job at a C-Store!!!

  • slave master

    Destroy all blacks and all this stops. African Americans are naturally born criminals. They have no morels. They are far too dumb to have any value in the community

  • m stalter

    I feel better already. Now that I know that the Car theft epidemic in Milwaukee is bad, but it’s been worse: Police say juveniles “find it fun” Tell that to the folks that have been beaten, and or had their only means of transportation taken just for fun. How about we start a new program, where the city helps to replace those stolen cars and pay for the medical bills. If I didn’t have to live in Milwaukee, trust me I would be gone. I see no inprovement. I would love to know where they get the numbers from. I don’t care about the past few years. The present is what is important and I see no improvement, but a steady decline in street and neighborhood safety. WakeUp city Hall

  • Itsabouttime

    Coggs what more information do you need it’s a daily event or are you not watching the news. What are you going to do when your car gets jacked? Maybe you will wake up then. So sick of the excuses of these thugs throw them in jail for good.

    • Michael Neils

      By where they live and resources available to them? Did she mean thug neighborhoods and parks or programs? Really??? How many MORE of these must taxpayers shell out $ for and then the kids are shot @ the playground by other kids? Parenting classes? Maybe those should start with the sex ed classes in middle school. 1st lesson: you ain’t got no job don’t be having no kids!
      It seems alot of these issues could be resolved if the hand outs would STOP. Get a ged or graduate. Get a job. Yes there are jobs when you don’t use drugs/alcohol, show up EVERY time you are scheduled and do your best. Maybe employers should get to cap their asses when they are late/no shows/steal like dealers do. If for GENERATIONS respect for yourself and others is not taught it will never be learned. This situation is only going to get worse.

  • Fred

    Oh, it’s just a fad – I won’t worry about it then. These silly kids!! ha, ha, just like the hula hoops, the pet rock and velcro straps on sneakers. These little scamps come up with the cutest things to amuse themselves…………

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