Spike in downtown Milwaukee car break-ins leads to increase in stolen guns across the city
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Car break-ins around the city of Milwaukee are down nearly 5% this year. However, the numbers for downtown Milwaukee tell a different story.
The Milwaukee Police Department tells CBS 58 the number of guns being stolen out of cars is on the rise.
In official data obtained from the Milwaukee Police Department, there have been 634 guns stolen throughout the city.
In the first two quarters of this year alone, 400 of those guns were stolen from cars.
It's no longer a shattering story.
Shannon Seymer-Tabaska, inspector in the Milwaukee Patrol Division, says downtown Milwaukee has seen a 59% spike when it comes to entry to auto theft.
Tabaska said it’s a domino effect of a crime of opportunity.
MPD data show guns are being stolen from cars parked near bars and nightclubs. Many have security measures that do not allow firearms inside the business.
This past Sunday, Luisiano Velez of Milwaukee had his car broken into.
"I didn't even notice until people were like, 'hey, your window is broke," said Velez.
Velez says he was out enjoying dinner with his family at a popular south side Milwaukee restaurant, Oscars Winner Circle, when someone broke into his car.
In security footage obtained from that restaurant by CBS 58, you can see an active car break-in with thieves reaching into a car and taking the contents inside, all while people were just feet away.
Velez says he tried to call the non-emergency line, but was met with several voicemails. Now he wants to see more police on the street.
Velez says, "Either more police in the area patrolling, if they're not going to answer their phone calls."
Officials say in order to combat these actions, it's going to take teamwork.
"Take a holistic approach from both the police and the community to take preventive measures," said Inspector Seymer-Tabaska.
Milwaukee police say some measures you can take to protect yourself, and car, are to park in well-lit areas close to your destination, and if you do have a firearm to store it properly in your trunk inside of a lockbox.