Kids, Vehicles and Adult Mentors
Numerous vehicles are being stolen across Milwaukee mostly by a small group of teens 12 to 17 years old. Not long ago a 12-year-old crashed in a police pursuit caught on camera and ran from the vehicle. He was caught later in a short foot pursuit. Of course, I think many people know that Kias […]
Numerous vehicles are being stolen across Milwaukee mostly by a small group of teens 12 to 17 years old. Not long ago a 12-year-old crashed in a police pursuit caught on camera and ran from the vehicle. He was caught later in a short foot pursuit. Of course, I think many people know that Kias and Hyundai’s are two of the vehicles that are stolen the most. Since 2020 car thefts are up over 150% in the city. Captain James Campbell of MPD reports “I think with the advent of social media, it became very easy for people to see this going on and maybe get some kind of status by doing it at the same time.” Police report people should not leave any valuables in their car. In addition, they recommend getting a steering wheel lock to keep their vehicles from being stolen.
Earl Ingram, a local radio host, has started a group called Voices of the Elders, a group of Milwaukee men trying to intervene before kids start stealing cars. He reports the rate of kids under 17 years old stealing cars and driving recklessly is at a crisis level in Milwaukee County. Milwaukee police estimate that twenty-four cars are stolen every day. The group is made up of senior Black men that meets with middle schoolers weekly to offer direction, encouragement, and words of wisdom. “You have to ask yourself, “Why would boys 10-15 years old risk their lives?’ Well, it is because they do not value their life. They do not see their death as any big deal.” Ingram said. “What we do as Black men is introduce ourselves to young boys and get them to understand what is going to take for them to wind up living right doing the right things. They have not heard it from their fathers. Unfortunately, a large swath of their fathers is locked up or dead” Ingram said.
The elders meet with groups of 7th and 8th grade boys, the target age group stealing cars. Ingram asked the group, “how many of you have friends that you know that have taken part in stealing a car or has been involved in driving in a stolen car, raise your hand.” Everyone in the group raised their hands. The kids stated “peer pressure’ is what makes them do this. “I think kids steal cars to be like in the game, because in the game you can steal cars and get money for it, and they think they can do that in real life,” another kid said. To which Ingram replied,” We do not understand that because a game is a game. Life is something altogether different.” The group would also like for Milwaukee businesses to offer the boys jobs to help channel their energy.
This is a good start to try and influence theses kids before they get to far along.