MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Sights and sounds of shattered glass, broken windows, and popped locks are becoming all too common in the Bluff City.
The Memphis Police Department has reported a 93 percent increase in auto thefts so far this year.
“We’ve had 7,822 year-to-date as of today. Last year, we had 4,000,” said Deputy Chief Joe Oakley.
Deputy Chief Joe Oakley, who analyzes the data, shared stats that show Kias, Hyundais and Infinitis are the most stolen vehicles in the city.
“It’s the make of the steering columns on some models and makes of both Kia and Hyundai unfortunately, this is a nationwide thing,” Oakley added. “Infiniti’s are easy to steal because of key fob programmers.”
As an added layer of protection, the department is now partnering with Kia to give away over 500 free steering wheel locks.
“If a suspect walks by your car and sees this on a steering wheel. He will probably go somewhere else and that’s what we want,” said Oakley.
One lock per car will be given on a “first come-first served basis” to anyone in need from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at MPD’s Traffic Office located at 3430 Austin Peay.
You’re required to show proof you live in the city limits.
Oakley says MPD’s Auto Theft Taskforce works diligently to recover stolen cars and has arrested over 950 suspects this year.
The suspects range from 10 years old to 70 years old. The most popular age is 16 which accounts for 338 of the accused thieves.
“Go out just be very vigilant, if you see anything suspicious don’t be afraid to call the police,” said Oakley.