MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officers at the Memphis Police Department’s Crump precinct hosted a wheel-lock giveaway Thursday, hoping to steer criminals away from stealing cars.

Drivers simply had to show their registration and ID, proving that they live in Memphis to get one. 

There is just something about taking charge that has Gretchen Nelson charged up, energized, and excited, knowing she is taking the initiative to protect her car. 

“I recently purchased [the car] and I really, really like it. I don’t want anyone to steal it. I don’t want to wake up and its gone from my driveway,” said Nelson.

After waking up Thursday, she came here to the Memphis Police Department’s Crump Station where hundreds of wheel locks were wheeled in, available free-of-charge, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We are looking to Nissans, Infinities, Hyundais and Kias. Those are the number one cars being stolen in the city of Memphis,” said Colonel Terence Jackson with the Memphis Police Department.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 27, detectives have investigated at least 10,943 auto thefts and attempted thefts. That breaks down to nearly 46 thefts a day.

That is almost the total number of auto theft incidents for all of last year.

Colonel Terence Jackson says these donated wheel locks – are a way to put the brakes on would-be car thieves.  

“In order for us to be proactive and to put a stop to some of these auto thefts, this is our way of giving back,” said Jackson.

The Colonel has dedicated nearly 41 years to crime fighting, but this is a fight he can not go at alone.

“We have to outsmart them, and this is how we are outsmarting them. You can’t steal something you can’t turn,” said Nelson.

Dozens of drivers are ready to use an older tool to combat even the more modernized methods.

“I had a 2002 Chevy, [it] was basically unstealable, but these newer vehicles, yes. These young people are just snatching them up like they are nothing,” said Nelson.

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These locks are visible, certainly a valuable asset to those desperately trying to safeguard their vehicles.

But it’s not enough to have it, you have to use it, a reminder Colonel Jackson is passing along as he is helping to pass out these must-have locks.

WREG reached out to MPD to see if people can still pick up a lock, or if there are any planned or upcoming giveaways. We are still waiting to hear back.