MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than 30 vehicles were stolen a day on average this year in Memphis, and according to Memphis police, some of the thieves aren’t old enough to drive.
Police bulletins have filled social media this year showing vehicle after vehicle stolen.
“A lot of the stolen vehicles that we are seeing on our roads right now are vehicles being used to commit other crimes,” said Chief CJ Davis.
She and her team gave a report to the city council stating more than 9,600 cars were stolen between January and December of this year. That’s averaging about 30 a day.
Police are working to catch the thieves, and WREG’s investigation uncovered as of November, MPD has made nearly 1,100 arrests. That’s the highest number we’ve seen in the past several years.
What’s even more troubling is that nearly a third of the arrests this year were children, including one 10-year-old, six 12-year-olds, and 26 13-year-olds.
Officers also arrested more than a hundred 16-year-olds for auto theft. That’s twice as many as last year.
2022 saw the largest amount of juveniles nabbed for auto theft in the past four years.
“We are dealing with children, and it’s become a trend,” Davis said.
Davis suggested drivers invest in wheel locks, kill switches and extra alarms to deter thieves.
She said she also asks the community to speak up if they see something.
“If you know about it, talk to somebody. We are not interested in arresting a bunch of children, but we’re interested in making sure their lives are protected,” she said. “Much of what they are doing is very dangerous.”
There were more adults arrested for auto theft in 2022 compared to the past several years. Nearly half of the arrests were between 18 and 25-years-old.
MPD is begging the public to be vigilant, and say this trend isn’t going away.
“Be cognizant of where you park your car. Be cognizant of whether or not you leave your car running,” Davis said.