Kids stealing cars in Milwaukee at record pace

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The rate of kids under 17 years old stealing cars and driving recklessly is at a crisis level in Milwaukee County. The juvenile detention center is full for the first time. Milwaukee police estimate 24 cars are stolen every day. They recorded more than 10,000 stolen vehicles last year, and already this year more than 2,700 cars have been stolen. Kids as young as 12 years old are part of an out-of-control trend. It’s why radio host Earl Ingram founded the group Voices of the Elders. His group of senior Black men meet 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’s because they don’t value their life . They don’t 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 it is going to take for them to wind up living right doing the right things. They haven’t heard it from their fathers. Unfortunately, a large swath of their fathers are locked up or dead.”WISN 12 was granted access inside a classroom at MPS’ Conservatory of Lifelong Learning where the Elders met with a group of 7th and 8th grade boys, the target age group stealing cars .When Ingram asked the group, “How many of you again 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.”They answered honestly with an almost unanimous hand raise. The kids listened intently and explained why some of their friends get caught up in the chaos. “Peer pressure,” one student answered.”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 don’t understand that because a game is a game. Life is something altogether different.”The men are asking Milwaukee businesses to step up and help these boys channel their energy into jobs.”We’ve got to convince them that education is the only way they’re gonna be able to succeed in this society. We’ve got to convince them that the hustle at the end of it is gonna be death or jail and going to jail is not a good thing, not a badge of honor,” Ingram said. In the first three months of this year, new data obtained by WISN 12 from children’s court shows there have been more than 100 kids involved in stolen cars. The number continues to climb. Just this week, Milwaukee police arrested three 14-year-old boys driving recklessly near South 63rd Street and West Warnimont Avenue near Hamilton High School and Wedgewood International Middle School.

The rate of kids under 17 years old stealing cars and driving recklessly is at a crisis level in Milwaukee County.

The juvenile detention center is full for the first time.

Milwaukee police estimate 24 cars are stolen every day.

They recorded more than 10,000 stolen vehicles last year, and already this year more than 2,700 cars have been stolen.

Kids as young as 12 years old are part of an out-of-control trend.

It’s why radio host Earl Ingram founded the group Voices of the Elders.

His group of senior Black men meet 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’s because they don’t value their life. They don’t 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 it is going to take for them to wind up living right doing the right things. They haven’t heard it from their fathers. Unfortunately, a large swath of their fathers are locked up or dead.”

WISN 12 was granted access inside a classroom at MPS’ Conservatory of Lifelong Learning where the Elders met with a group of 7th and 8th grade boys, the target age group stealing cars.

When Ingram asked the group, “How many of you again 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.”

They answered honestly with an almost unanimous hand raise.

The kids listened intently and explained why some of their friends get caught up in the chaos.

“Peer pressure,” one student answered.

“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 don’t understand that because a game is a game. Life is something altogether different.”

The men are asking Milwaukee businesses to step up and help these boys channel their energy into jobs.

“We’ve got to convince them that education is the only way they’re gonna be able to succeed in this society. We’ve got to convince them that the hustle at the end of it is gonna be death or jail and going to jail is not a good thing, not a badge of honor,” Ingram said.

In the first three months of this year, new data obtained by WISN 12 from children’s court shows there have been more than 100 kids involved in stolen cars.

The number continues to climb.

Just this week, Milwaukee police arrested three 14-year-old boys driving recklessly near South 63rd Street and West Warnimont Avenue near Hamilton High School and Wedgewood International Middle School.



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