MPD partners with Hyundai and Kia to deter theft


The Milwaukee Police Department has gone directly to manufacturers, trying to deter auto theft. Hyundai and Kia provide steering wheel locks to the police for distribution to vehicle owners.

Auto thefts in the city have increased by almost 200%. Hyundai and Kia vehicles, in particular, are targeted; they are easy targets for thieves.

Riverside Automotive has been at the forefront of repairing broken-down and damaged Hyundai and Kia vehicles, servicing up to three cars in one week.

“They’re going to smash one of the windows, get into the car, damage the steering column,” said Peter Bilgo of Riverside Automotive. “Once you get into the steering column, they can take a screwdriver and start the car.”

Milwaukee Police have worked to address the growing problem. There have been more than 3,400 Hyundai and Kia thefts so far in 2021 – a huge jump from 2020 when there were less than 900. Police said the thefts often result in more of crimes.

“Sometimes they get involved in chases, reckless driving and they can lead to something more tragic,” said Sgt. Efrain Cornejo.

The rise in thefts has forced an interesting partnership between the ministry and manufacturers – trying to end the crime.

“This is just one more step to help prevent car theft,” said Sgt. said Cornejo. “They took this very seriously and they are working with us to find a solution.”

Anyone who owns a Hyundai or Kia and lives, works, or goes to school in Milwaukee can go to any police district to get a steering wheel lock.

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