DAVENPORT -Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane says he's hoping Quad City drivers are taking the message of locking up their cars seriously, and says pursuing the under- aged thieves is not an option.
"The key is prevention," Lane said.
Lane and other top Quad City law enforcement officials launched the "Lock It Up" initiative last Friday to warn about the alarming number of area car thefts: 750 in the past year, most committed by kids.
"We can't pursue these people. The offense is not serious enough for the risk, because with a pursuit there's risk. It's only compounded by the fact that these are inexperienced drivers and they're willing to be reckless," Lane said. "There's a significant amount of risk that's going to go with that, and we're just not willing to accept that amount of risk to the innocent citizen."
The Sheriff says area departments are talking with local prosecutors about the problem, and are identifying some of the young thieves. However, their age makes detention and prosecution, a challenge.
He says he doesn't believe the juveniles are part of a larger ring.
"I don't think anybody is actively encouraging these kids to do this, other than what they're seeing on social media. Because, this is not just a local problem, we are hearing this is increasing nationwide," he said.
Right now, the best way to try and curb the trend is for drivers to lock up their cars and not leave them running unattended.