Milwaukee police offering free locks in response to car thefts

Milwaukee police distributing free steering wheel locks in response to spike in vehicle thefts. (Courtesy: Milwaukee Police District One)

The Milwaukee Police Department announced this week that it is providing free steering wheel locks to certain vehicle owners.

The city has seen a spike in car thefts in 2021 – described by one police captain as an "epidemic of motor vehicle theft" – with Hyundai and Kia vehicles being targeted, specifically.

In response to that spike, the Milwaukee Police Foundation partnered with O'Reilly Auto Parts to acquire the locks. They are available to Milwaukee residents who own a Kia (2011 or newer) to Hyundai (2015 or newer).

Any resident who wants a lock can contact any MPD district station, while supplies last – proof of ownership is required.

According to MPD, there have been 2,949 vehicle thefts in the city as of April 30. Of those, 973 were Kia and 947 were Hyundai vehicles. This time last year, there were 1,201 thefts -- 34 Kia and 58 Hyundai.

Police are also urging the automakers to recall the brands they save have been causing the trouble.

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