Bob Donovan
Press Release

Asking for Sheriff Clarke’s help to stem south side auto theft crisis

243% increase in 8th Aldermanic District in five years

By - Aug 4th, 2015 10:50 am

My first obligation as alderman is to protect the interests and the health, safety, and welfare of my constituents. When those interests are NOT being served, I am compelled to take action.

I am asking Sheriff David Clarke (see attached) for assistance in putting the brakes on the auto theft crisis we’re seeing on the south side. I believe the help is needed because it appears the Milwaukee Police Department simply is not up to the task, despite the best efforts of the fine rank and file officers.

It gives me little pleasure, and makes me extremely angry, to point out a few of the statistics (attached) I have garnered from online city records:

  • In the 8th District in 2015, there have been 460 vehicles stolen to date, including 105 between June 28 and July 27. The total increase from 2010 to 2015 is 243%.
  • From this time in 2014 until now, the 8th District has seen a 97% increase in auto thefts.
  • The 12th Aldermanic District has seen 348 stolen vehicles so far this year, and a 33% increase from 2014 to 2015.
  • The 14th Aldermanic District has seen an increase of 185% from 2014 to 2015, including 188 thefts from January 1 to July 27, 2015.

It sickens me to know that my district leads in the entire city in car thefts over the past five years!

My great fear is that the huge uptick in auto thefts is but a warm-up that will lead to regular violence. The historic trend in recent U.S. history in this area shows that first come property crime increases, and then violence.

For years I have warned about this problem of increased disorder, and for years I have called for the critical need to make marked progress to address our insufficient police staffing.

For years I have called for hiring additional officers so we can protect “neighborhoods on the fence,” but we see no response and no plan from the Barrett Administration.

We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years as part of Operation Impact to help augment overtime pay for additional beat cops, and for surveillance cameras, and for alley lighting. We have more than met this administration and this department half way on public safety, yet we are rewarded it would seem by crime that cannot be controlled, and a five-year increase in auto thefts in my district of 243%!

And sadly, auto theft is more than just a property crime. For the working class residents of my district, having a vehicle stolen can mean the difference between keeping or losing a job.

I am urging residents who share my concerns (and my disgust) to attend tomorrow night’s joint community public safety meeting hosted by myself and Alderman José G. Pérez. The meeting on Wednesday (August 5) evening will start at 6 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1236 S. Layton Blvd.

The broken justice system is also a part of the problem – a large part! Criminals who are caught too often get out of jail early or plea bargain their way to a slap on the wrist and avoid jail altogether. This is wrong, and we need to make sure they are held accountable.

The MPD’s no pursuit policy is also fueling crime in Milwaukee, and has led to a major increase in drug dealing, vehicle thefts, robberies, and homicides.

The Barrett Administration’s public safety policies need to be re-tooled, and those changes must come directly from the mayor soon.

Until then, I await the input and assistance from Sheriff Clarke.

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4 thoughts on “Asking for Sheriff Clarke’s help to stem south side auto theft crisis”

  1. Dave says:

    “For years I have warned about this problem of increased disorder, and for years I have called for the critical need to make marked progress to address our insufficient police staffing.”

    And for years you have done nothing to address how you would fund such added staffing. Maybe we could harness your hot air and offset some of the steam purchases the city makes.

  2. hereiam says:

    The Milwaukee Sheriff’s Department is not a police agency. They are neither equipped nor experienced at the investigation of crimes. This is made clear by the fact that they handle approximately 0.001% of the criminal investigations in the county.

  3. Rich says:

    Section 59.27.13 of the statutes creating counties seems to restrict exactly the type of thing Donovan is asking for.
    Section 62.13.2g,s says that the city must have contracted with the Sheriff to provide this service for the area covered by the city.

    Presumably, Donovan knows this.

    Sadly, his constituents and other average citizens probably don’t and think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  4. Yance says:

    That is a huge increase in the number of auto thefts. If I was a detective (or just plain smart) I would assume that there is an auto theft ring at the heart of the problem. Auto theft rings steal the cars and then strip them to part them out for sales across the country. Which means interstate criminal networks. Hmm, I wonder what kind of agency would investigate interstate criminal networks? Would it be the MPD, or the County Sherriff or who? Hmmmm.

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