Jeramey Jannene

MPD Tries New Tactics For Vehicle Thefts, Reckless Driving

MPD using bait cars to catch car thieves. State Patrol will provide assistance on Capitol and Fond du Lac.

By - Jul 21st, 2022 03:01 pm
A Kia parked on a City of Milwaukee street. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A Kia parked on a City of Milwaukee street. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Milwaukee Police Department is launching three new traffic enforcement initiatives designed to reduce reckless driving and vehicle thefts. The department is adding patrols in partnership with an outside agency, deploying bait cars to catch vehicle thieves and restarting a sticker program to alert officers to vehicles that shouldn’t be on city streets overnight.

“Everybody needs to be part of the solution,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson in a press conference Thursday at the MPD administration building.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is now augmenting MPD in patrolling state highways within the city. Most notably Capitol Drive and Fond du Lac Ave., known as state highways 190 and 145.

“We can help and we will. This is part of being a flexible, responsive agency sworn to protect the public,” said state patrol superintendent Tony Burrell. “The state patrol will help with traffic safety so that the Milwaukee Police Department can focus on community safety and other initiatives.”

Burrell said the initiative will target “strategic hot spots” where crashes more frequently occur. State patrol officers won’t be deployed every day, but in a data-driven manner.

“Understand if you get cited by a [state patrol officer], you get a citation that is higher than from the city,” said Milwaukee police chief Jeffrey Norman.

“This partnership began two weeks ago and will continue throughout the summer,” said Norman. The city has previously partnered with the state patrol on similar initiatives.

Bait Cars

A “bait car” is being deployed by MPD to address the thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. Two-thirds of the vehicles stolen in 2021 were made by either Kia or Hyundai. More than half of the thefts where an arrest was made involved people under the age of 18.

“At any given time, we will have one or more vehicles within the city,” said Norman. The vehicles will be able to be remotely disabled.

Many Kia and Hyundai have vulnerabilities that make them easier to steal.

Rear windows in the vehicles can be broken as they are not connected to the alarm system. More sophisticated techniques involve prying out the window. Once inside the vehicle, a panel can be removed and the vehicle started by using a USB cable or similarly-shaped object to turn over the ignition. Other thieves have used pliers. The thefts involve vehicles without an immobilizer in a chipped key (an immobilizer is found in push-button ignition setups common in new vehicles). Most of Kia and Hyundai’s vehicles made in the past decade have such vulnerabilities.

“We don’t reveal that type of operational [information],” said Norman in response to a question about when the bait cars are being used.

CAT Anti-Theft Program Returning

MPD is also working to bring back an old program.

The Combat Auto Theft or CAT program is simple in its nature. Vehicle owners request a special sticker, shaped like a police badge, and display it on the back of their vehicle. If an officer spots it between 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., it serves as the probable cause for pulling the vehicle over.

Norman said the time window is when MPD has identified most vehicles are stolen. A database of valid drivers will be maintained by MPD for each vehicle.

The chief said individuals could visit any MPD station to claim a sticker and register for the program.

“All of these activities are for a safer community,” said Norman. “Things are working. They may not be as fast as we want them to be, but we’re seeing improvements.”

“I want to thank all of the participants who have stepped up in our efforts to make our streets safer in the city of Milwaukee,” said Johnson. “The department is willing to try new approaches and new techniques… and I applaud those efforts.”

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More about the Kia and Hyundai Theft Epidemic

Read more about Kia and Hyundai Theft Epidemic here

Categories: Public Safety, Weekly

3 thoughts on “MPD Tries New Tactics For Vehicle Thefts, Reckless Driving”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Rampant crime is what happens when our politicians, like Pelosi and Schumer, work together with Goldman Sachs bankers, like Alex Lasry, to ship all of our good paying, family supporting, manufacturing jobs out of the country.

    Now, the people of China and Russia have a higher standard of living than Americans… China and Russia have free health care and free college, and we don’t… Thanks for nothing, Joe Biden.

    P.S. 58% of Democrats don’t want Biden to be President in 2024.

  2. Edward Susterich says:

    NieWeiderKreig– You have great potential as a comedian!

  3. NieWiederKrieg says:

    @Edward Susterich –

    Ed, my friend… I think maybe you get 99% of your news and information from Rachel Maddow, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, Google, Hollywood movies, and Joe Biden’s Press Secretary?

    Have you ever watched any of the videos from bloggers in Russia? I picked out a random video from a Russian blogger on YouTube for you to watch… It’s a young lady who goes to a couple of Russian burger joints, a shopping mall, and a grocery store… Please understand that the food in Russia is not soaked with pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and cancer causing chemicals, like the food in the US.

    Life In Russia 5 MONTHS Under SANCTIONS: Empty Stores? Rising Prices?

    P.S. Another difference between the US and Russia is that Russians can go to malls and restaurants without fear of being killed in a mass shooting… whereas in the US, we have hundreds of people killed in public by gunfire every day.

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