MILWAUKEE – In 2021, there were more than 10,000 vehicles stolen and nearly 200 people murdered in Milwaukee, according to the police department’s own statistics.
In 2022, those number are only getting worse.
As of Thursday, March 10th there had been 39 homicides committed in Milwaukee in 2022.
At the same time last year, the city had only seen 19 homicides. That a 100% increase year over year.
Motor vehicle theft crimes are following a similar trend.
So far this year, there have been 1,650 vehicles stolen in Milwaukee.
On March 10th of 2021, that number stood at 1,606. That’s an increase of 3%.
Assistant Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department, Paul Formolo, tells WTMJ if the department can get a hold on the stolen vehicle issue, the rest will fall into place.
“If we’re really going to get a grip on violent crime, and reckless driving… we really have to tackle the motor vehicle theft problem,” Formolo said.
“It’s an underlying issue for reckless driving and violent crime in our city.”
Formolo says many crimes are committed by offenders who are driving or riding in stolen vehicles, which makes tracing them incredibly difficult.
“A lot of our offenders are committing crimes in stolen vehicles,” Formolo said. “Many of our shooting victims, non-fatal shooting and homicide victims, are being shot while inside stolen vehicles. And our perpetrators of these shootings are shooting from within stolen vehicles.”
Formolo says the department is now targeting “the most prolific motor vehicle theft offenders.”
“A lot of these individuals are young people especially. They’re not just doing one or two stolen cars… They’re in the dozens,” Formolo said.
“So I think if we can address the most prolific offenders, we can have the most significantly impact on motor vehicle theft crime rate in the city.”
You can hear part of Assistant Chief Formolo’s interview with WTMJ’s Alex Crowe in the player at the top of the page.