Demand for anti-theft devices surging amid Milwaukee's stolen car crisis

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee's stolen car crisis has both car owners and city leaders looking for solutions.

One that's keeping car alarm businesses cruising is a surge in demand for anti-theft devices.

The owner of Alarmtronix installed six kill switches Wednesday, June 16.

He said between those and car alarms, he's been hopping all year.

"If they come up to the vehicle, that's gonna activate it right there," said Alarmtronix Owner Randy Torgrud.

He said an alarm should hopefully scare a would-be thief off, but if they persist, a kill switch will keep the car where it's parked.

"If they get in the vehicle, they have a key or they bust the lock, they try to start it, dead, nothing, the kill switch makes it so it's not gonna start," said Torgrud.

Torgrud was finishing installing his sixth kill switch Wednesday. He said customers like Shannon Cousins have been ordering them all year long.

"They're doing it to everybody," said Cousins.

She said this is the third time her Hyundai has been targeted.

"It's very frustrating, because I feel like I'm a person -- I don't really do anything to anybody and when it first happened, I was taking it personal," said Cousins.

Milwaukee leaders Milele Coggs and Khalif Rainey sent letters to Hyundai and Kia asking them to make the cars harder to steal. They said the two brands account for two thirds of all stolen cars in Milwaukee this year.

"I would say they were 13, 14 and I was like, where are there parents at?" said Cousins.

Cousins said she already feels safer with the kill switch. But with no end in sight to these car thefts, she's considering buying something else.

"Oh 100-percent, it's in the works," said Cousins.

Alarmtronix said the combination alarm and kill switch system they sell and install costs $199.95.

FBI crime data said the average value of a stolen car costs its owner $8,400.

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