DETROIT (WXYZ) — To help reduce auto theft in the city of Detroit, police, local and state officials and Marathon teamed up to pass out 600 clubs and wheel locks. The giveaway took place at public safety headquarters Friday.
Auto theft has been on the rise in the city. The Detroit Police Department reported a 45% increase in stolen vehicles in 2022.
Richard Johnson, a lifelong Detroiter, told 7 Action News he parks in his garage these days and makes his visits to the store brief.
However, over the years, he said he’s had a couple of vehicles stolen. One was taken right out of his driveway.
“Felt violated," Johnson said. “It’s an inconvenience and it just makes you wonder about society you’re living in... You know, you just feel like wow, this is so unfair."
“What are you going to do? You can’t really stop violence or stop people from committing crimes. You have to try to hope that you’re lucky and stay out of crime’s way," Johnson reasoned.
At the giveaway, police Chief James White helped pass out some of the anti-theft devices.
Raymonda Davis, who received the devices, said, “I have a Kia and they have been stealing Kias left and right.”
Kia and Hyundai have experienced a crime wave since 2021, which has put vehicle owners on alert.
"My neighbor, her car was right in front of my house and it was stolen. So I need the club," Detroiter Lula McNuckles said.
DPD reported nearly 9,800 vehicles thefts in 2022. That's a 45% increase compared to 2021, according to annual crime statistics.
State Rep. Tyrone Carter told 7 Action News, “As a state rep, I go to different police community meetings and the biggest issue they will talk about is stolen cars and break-ins."
"So, the club, as old as it is when people see it, you know most thieves are lazy unless they’ve got a hit list... they’ll walk away," he said.
Carter added, "So, it’s better to have a club on your car than to not have one.”