Our summer strategic plan is underway, and the North District is experiencing our first micro time hotspot related to stolen autos. Over the past two weeks, we have experienced a swift increase in auto thefts in the area of East Washington Ave and Hayes Rd. The thefts have occurred primarily in the overnight hours, likely between midnight and 5am. Some of the vehicles stolen were at local hotels, while others in driveways and large apartment parking lots. Many are being used for "joyriding", including aggressive and dangerous driving. These cars frequently flee from police, which creates a greater danger to the public, officers and occupants. In these instances, MPD does not pursue these vehicles, but may employ other techniques to limit the driver's mobility.
We are seeing a change in trends from stealing cars with keys inside, to certain vehicles being targeted due to a manufacturing issue that makes them easy to steal. These vehicles are being entered, usually by breaking a rear window, and driven away without keys. This is a trend that is well known in other areas of the State and Country and is now becoming common in Madison.
Vehicles targeted are Kia models newer than a 2011 and Hyundias newer than 2015. Both automakers have said that beginning in 2022, changes were made to prevent this type of theft. Some folks have reported success with inexpensive theft deterrent devices, when used correctly. While MPD hasn't done any testing of these devices, information can be found online.
The thefts are frequently committed by groups of people driving around in a single car and then targeting specific areas and vehicles. The group will exit the car they arrived in (usually stolen) and target these vehicles. Sometimes the original vehicle is left behind and at other times they drive away in multiple cars. MPD is asking that this type of suspicious behavior be reported at the time it is happening, by calling 911.