Perspective is how we look at things around us. I would like to share some information from our records section that will indeed influence your perspective. We are battling a huge epidemic. The epidemic is thefts from motor vehicles. Our patrol officers have been taking an extraordinary amount of these reports and spending the time associated with filing reports and seeking the culprits responsible.

As you can see from the statistics below, over 1/3 of the time our officers spend is to take Theft reports. Further, of all those theft reports, nearly ONE HALF of those reports deal with one type of theft crime: THEFTS FROM MOTOR VEHICLES. As Lieutenant of the Detective Bureau, I see all incoming reports. I know this trend is the same month after month. November is not shaping up to be any better.

 

September 2011 = 241 Criminal Offense Reports

Category

Total

Loss to Victims

Offense Reports

241

All Theft Reports

91

$76,997.00

Theft from vehicles

45

$ 9,158.00

Recovered total (from all thefts)

$10,812.00

Total theft complaints are 37.7% of all reports. Theft from vehicles is 49.4% of all theft.

 

October 2011 = 211 Criminal Offense Reports

Category

Total

Loss to Victims

Offense Reports

211

All Theft Reports

67

$40,429.00

Theft from vehicles

32

$ 8,107.00

Recovered total (from all thefts)

$ 2,246.00

Total theft complaints are 31.7% of all reports. Theft from vehicles is 47.7% of all theft.

 

The theft items from vehicles have included: wallets, purses, cash, change, credit cards, prescription drugs, GPS units, XM radios, weapons, laptop computers, IPODS, phones, electronic game pads, and the list goes on. I understand a GPS unit is generally used in your motor vehicle. However, they most often cost $200.00 or more, and are very easy to get rid of on the street. Very few wind up in a pawnshop where they are documented and police can find them.

Credit cards and personal papers found in wallets and purses can do much more damage to your credit. Usually when stolen, it is at night, and they attempt using them within hours of the theft, while you are still sleeping. You awake to a nightmare of inconvenience and worry about continuing damage to your credit.

The legislature in Ohio recently, in a change of the law this year, INCREASED the theft threshold from $500.00 to $1,000.00. This means the thief can now steal up to $1,000.00 of your property and it is still a misdemeanor crime of “Petty Theft”. A misdemeanor carries substantially less penalty than a felony. Since these crimes are misdemeanors, they get attention after the more serious felony crimes.

With the upcoming holiday season, I expect to see more of these trends in crime. I am concerned shoppers will leave packages in their motor vehicles. It will create an irresistible temptation to the thief.

I believe it is possible for everyone to enjoy a trouble free holiday season and help us in law enforcement to eliminate this type of crime. If every citizen will help law enforcement officers by being responsible to remove all valuables from their vehicles, these crimes COULD NOT HAPPEN. I realize it is a deterrent to lock your car. However, we also take reports on criminal damaging, like when your car window is broken.

I hope everyone who reads this article gains perspective and makes a positive decision not to become a victim. I hope the thieves will be the disappointed ones.