Ohio Auto Thefts Down 2% for 2nd Straight Year

Auto thefts in Ohio appear to have declined more than 2 percent for the second consecutive year, according to estimates released by the Ohio Insurance Institute.

Based on auto theft survey results of 17 major Ohio city police departments and data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, OII estimates that statewide auto thefts decreased 2.3 percent between 2003-2004.

This follows a decrease of 4.1 percent between 2002-2003, when US auto thefts actually increased 1.1 percent. Ohio realized a 1.3 percent increase between 2001-2002. Prior to 2000, national figures showed an eight-year period of auto theft decreases (1992-1999), followed by a 1.2 percent increase between 1999-2000, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports.

OII findings suggest Cleveland is where you’ll experience the greatest chance of becoming an auto theft statistic in the Buckeye state. There was one theft for every 56 registered vehicles in Cleveland, creating an even greater risk than its 2003 ratio of one in 63 vehicles. Auto theft-wise, Cleveland’s ratio is similar to Dayton’s — 1 in 61 — and Cincinnati’s — 1 in 63. Dayton averaged one theft for every 62 registered vehicles in 2003; Cincinnati averaged one for every 52 vehicles — the worst in the state that year.

Between 2003-2004 auto theft activity in Ohio’s major cities ranged from a decrease of 23 percent in Springfield, to an increase of 56.2 percent in Euclid. Based on survey results, OII estimates statewide auto thefts were 40,039 in 2004. FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports shows statewide thefts were 40,996 in 2003 and 42,767 in 2002.

The FBI reports that the average value per vehicle stolen in 2003 was $6,797, up from the 2002 figure of $6,701. According to OII calculations, the value of unrecovered vehicles in 2004 remained at $101 million ($101.3 million in 2003). The nation’s vehicle recovery rate dropped slightly from 63.1% in 2002 to 62.9% in 2003.

Based on OII’s analysis, eight cities reported decreases between 2003-2004 ranging from 3 percent to 23 percent. Of the cities reporting decreases, Springfield had the greatest percentage drop — down 23 percent — reducing thefts from 661 in 2003 to 509 in 2004. Four other cities experienced double-digit auto theft decreases – Cincinnati (22.4 percent), Youngstown (18.1 percent), Lorain (11 percent) and Toledo (10.3 percent).