'Shawn jumps into a stollie:' Milwaukee teenagers unveil PSA aimed at combating city's carjacking crisis

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee teenagers from Running Rebels and UniteMKE on Tuesday, May 21 unveiled a powerful PSA that's part of a campaign to end carjacking.

The PSA, called "Shawn jumps into a stollie (a stolen vehicle)" shows the events that led up to a young man's decision to join a friend in stealing a vehicle -- that's later involved in a fatal crash. The PSA shows heartbroken family members arriving at the scene of the tragedy -- with one saying, "This can't be real."

Before the release of the PSA, the group of teenagers involved in the campaign gathered for a roadside memorial around a totaled vehicle in honor of those who have been killed or hurt as a result of carjackings. The young people reflected on and wrote out the personal consequences of carjacking on large Post-It notes and stuck them to the vehicle.

According to the website for this campaign, called: "Jack a car and jack up your life," the age of those involved in carjackings has dropped from 30s or older in the early 2000s to 20s or younger currently.

The group cited statistics from the Milwaukee Police Department showing in 2018, there were 51 fatal crashes in Milwaukee, and in more than half of these cases, it's not the driver who ends up losing their life.

The campaign began in summer 2018, when Ignite Change hosted a youth engagement class for UniteMKE. More than two dozen teenagers who participated were asked, "What issue in Milwaukee impacts you most?" According to the group, the teenagers were unanimous and clear in their answer -- carjacking. Two months later, Running Rebels teenagers with the "Be the Change" program funded by the City of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention echoed that sentiment. Over 200 hours of donated agency time led to the "Jack a car, jack up your life" campaign -- inspired by teenagers and led by teenagers.

It's an effort to do something to solve Milwaukee's "stollie" problem.