Greenfield Police hope new proposal lowers car thefts

NOW: Greenfield Police hope new proposal lowers car thefts

GREENFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The number of car thefts in Greenfield has nearly doubled from last year.

Now, police have a plan they say will be a big deterrent.

There have been nearly 80 car thefts in Greenfield this year, and police say they've had enough.

The thieves are often targeting dealerships.

"We've had a huge increase, a 250 percent increase in automobile thefts. A lot of them are from car dealerships and places that store cars," says Greenfield Police Assistant Deputy Chief Dave Patrick. 

So now police want to put a new ordinance in place. All dealerships or places that store cars overnight, have to make sure the keys are put away and locked up so they don't become an easy target.

"When the break into the dealership they can get at the keys and steal the cars. If the keys are safe or in a strong lockbox, that's not going to happen," says Patrick. 

If businesses don't comply, they could have to pay police for the investigation

Turk Letizia with Diamond Jim's Auto Sales says his dealerships have been targeted before.

"We've been here forty years, and we've been locking up our keys for forty years," says Letizia. "They tried to get into all three of ours luckily they've been unsuccessful. We do a pretty good security measure, but it's tough."

Letizia says he checks that every car in the lot is locked before he goes home and the keys are secured.

"We've had some vehicles of 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars sitting out there. So if they're vandalized or stolen or the wheels stolen off of them, it's tragic," he says. 

City leaders say it's time for a change.

"The city of Milwaukee has funding for a stolen car task force, We in Greenfield don't. So it takes time away for our detectives and officers that could be doing other things," says first district Alderperson, Linda Lubotsky. 

The Greenfield City Council still has to vote on this plan on December 5th. If approved, they would join Milwaukee, which has a similar ordinance.

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