Number of stolen vehicles in Memphis climbing, police say

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:47 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Auto thefts are putting Memphis on the national stage for another year.

Last year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Bluff City ranked fourth in the nation for stolen vehicles.

Data for this year is not out yet, but auto thefts in the city continue to shatter records.

The number of reported stolen vehicles keeps climbing... Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis now saying the number one stolen make and model in Memphis are no longer Hyundais and Kias, but Nissans!

According to the MPD public data map, 14,161 vehicles have been reported stolen as of November 17, 2023.

“Anything that’s going to prevent theft is going to help you,” said Major Max Howard with the Memphis Police Department.

Memphis police held another one of their many wheel-lock giveaways Friday.

“We do look for the top five autos that are being stolen in Memphis, Tennessee,” said Major Howard.

No surprise here, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis says Infinitis, Kias, Hyundais and Nissans remain the top stolen vehicle makes in the city.

“Our streets are dangerous,” said Chief Davis. “From young people driving recklessly on our streets. It’s a problem that the Memphis Police Department cannot wrap our arms around alone.”

Chief Davis also says those vehicles often turn up used in other crime scenes, like the one in Fox Meadows on Wednesday.

Police say 23-year-old Larico Woods and a 15-year-old allegedly led officers on chase in a stolen Dodge Charger that was spray painted black, eventually causing a multi-vehicle crash.

Woods had warrants for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, evading arrest, failure to appear in a misdemeanor case, theft of property, vandalism, and multiple counts of burglary, according to police.

“We’ve arrested over 23,000 people in the city of Memphis just this year alone,” said Chief Davis. “Record numbers of arrests, but it’s not going to do any good for us to continue to arrest individuals and they continue to commit crimes.”

Chief Davis says about 35 to 40 cars are stolen every day. The majority of those thefts, she says, are at the hands of young people.

Chief Davis also says 16-year-olds lead in vehicle thefts, but they’ve seen assailants as young as 12.

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