Lincoln’s police chief is asking residents to help stem a record number of stolen vehicles from growing even more.
Chief Jeff Bliemeister said police have taken reports of 87 cars and trucks stolen in the city so far this year, which he called an exponential increase from the same period last year, which itself was up from prior years.
“Our crime analysis unit and all of our staff do a great job at trying to address trends and do what we can to impact those trends,” he said.
Bliemeister said more than 70 of those vehicles later were recovered, which tells police they aren’t being stolen to sell parts.
“We have to ask ourselves why are they being stolen,” he said.
Bliemeister said police believe they’re being stolen by some taking joyrides. But they’re also being used to commit crimes, such as burglaries and robberies. When police spot them, it can lead to reckless driving by the thief and a dangerous pursuit.
“This is something everyone can prevent,” the police chief said.
He said more than half of the stolen vehicles had been left unlocked and running or with the keys inside.
Bliemeister challenged Lincoln residents to reach out to co-workers who leave their keys in their vehicles or to strangers who leave cars running unlocked outside a convenience store.
“None of us want our vehicle that’s been stolen to be used in a crime or to end in the tragic loss of life,” he said.
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