Milwaukee auto theft epidemic out of control, sparking “street justice”
Ald. Donovan to hold Thursday news conference on near south side
Alderman Bob Donovan will hold a news conference tomorrow (Thursday, February 11) near the location where a would-be car thief was roughed up by irate residents before being arrested on Monday afternoon.
Alderman Donovan will host the news conference at 11:00 a.m. Thursday at S. 31st and W. Scott Streets. He will be joined by Alderman Mark A. Borkowski and will address what he calls “the epidemic of vehicle theft across the City of Milwaukee.”
The news conference location is approximately one block from where a teenage car theft suspect was caught on Monday (February 8) afternoon while trying to steal a vehicle. The youth was apparently knocked unconscious – based on photos posted to social media – and then held until police arrived and arrested him.
Alderman Donovan said the vehicle theft epidemic is causing some to take matters into their own hands. “It is extremely frustrating to me and to the constituents I represent that the car theft epidemic is not going away – and in fact it appears clearly that it is getting worse,” said the alderman, who calls the near south side the “epicenter” of vehicle theft activity in the city. “People will protect themselves and their property if they don’t feel they’re being adequately protected by police.”
Alderman Donovan said statistics released by Milwaukee police today show that when compared to the same period (December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015 versus December 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016), motor vehicle thefts citywide have increased 57% — from 862 (12-1-14 to 1-31-15) to 1,357 (12-1-15 to 1-31-16).
“I was guardedly optimistic prior to the release of the statistics, but we are obviously headed in the wrong direction and it is very disturbing to me,” he said.
Alderman Donovan cited as a reason for optimism a new MPD task force devoted to the vehicle theft epidemic. Now he wonders whether the task force can gain the traction necessary to slow down the epidemic.
“It seems to me that we’ve dug ourselves a hole – task force or no task force – that we can’t get ourselves out of, and that the police also don’t have the resources to protect us,” he said. “It is scary.”
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