The US city thinking of suing Hyundai and Kia over stolen cars
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Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, US, is facing a huge amount of stolen vehicles. Since last year, stolen vehicle reports in the city have, reportedly, more than doubled. And they've nearly tripled since 2019.
The city sees roughly 30 car thefts a day, and if Milwaukee continues seeing this rate of stolen vehicles, it's likely to surpass 10,000 this year alone. This rate is even ahead of Chicago, which has a population 6 times larger than Milwaukee.
Police say half the suspects in the city's car thefts are age 16 or younger, and that they seem to target easy-to-steal Kia and Hyundai cars. This has led the city to seriously consider suing the automakers under its public nuisance laws.
Local police say that two thirds of the cars that have been stolen this year are Kia and Hyundai vehicles. WISN reports that Kia and Hyundai thefts have escalated to 2,500% year-over-year as of June.
According to Wisconsin "car experts", Kia and Hyundai vehicles are easy to steal as, apparently, they be broken into via the rear window without activating the car's alarm. From there, thieves can climb into the front seat and open the steering column with a screwdriver. This allows them to start the car without a key. The number of cars that have been stolen like this has resulted in the parts to repair the steering column, reportedly being on back-order.
The city has been struggling to curb the thefts, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett reportedly admitted that only two percent of suspects are prosecuted. But residents are fed up with this behaviour, with WISN reporting on one case where a vigilante opened fire into a car full of teens that, while they had been egging cars, were not travelling in a stolen vehicle.
Milwaukee is at such a loss for solutions that the city is seriously thinking about suing Kia and Hyundai under its public nuisance laws.