Auto thefts rise at record-setting pace in Minneapolis

Minneapolis close to breaking auto theft record

Minneapolis close to breaking auto theft record

Minneapolis is coming close to breaking its record for auto thefts in a year.

According to Minneapolis Police Department records, there have been 6,114 motor vehicle thefts since the first of the year, a 50% increase from the same time a year ago when there were 4,110 auto thefts. 

The city set a record last year with 6,283 total auto thefts. At the current pace, Minneapolis will establish a new auto theft record well before the end of the year.

Minneapolis City Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw chairs the Public Safety Committee. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS this week her committee will start discussing ways the city and MPD might be able to better combat the dramatic rise in car thefts. 

Vetaw said the St. Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office have had good success combating the problem in their jurisdictions, with auto thefts down about 36%.

“Six thousand. Unbelievable. And just to think, two years ago it wasn’t even a thing,” said Vetaw.  “The laws in Minneapolis are very different than they are in St. Paul about pursuit. So we have to need to figure out something that’s very specific to our laws and our pursuit policies in Minneapolis. And we need to work in collaboration with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.”

Tony Ofstead is the director of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Fraud Bureau. He says there are some simple reminders people should keep in mind to avoid becoming a victim of auto theft.

“You’re just going to run into the gas station quick. Just gonna run to the grocery store real quick, just gonna run a quick errand and it will be out back. And a lot of people sort of have that mentality that it couldn’t happen to me,” Ofstead said.

RELATED: Drivers struggle to insure Kia, Hyundai models that remain target of theft

Ofstead said auto thefts, in their totality, affect everyone.

“From an industry standard, absolutely insurance goes up, your premiums go up. As a consumer, your rates for police services are going to go up,” Ofstead said.

MPD has stated in recent months that the vast majority of stolen vehicles in the city were Kias and Hyundais, particularly models that do not have the most up-to-date auto theft prevention systems built into them.