Ohio Fighting Scrap Metal Theft with Data Sharing Project

January 23, 2015

Scrap metal dealers are getting help combatting theft from a new data-sharing arrangement through the Ohio Courts Network.

Under a December agreement between the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Department of Public Safety, a “Do Not Buy from Convicted Thieves” repository has been implemented listing those convicted of illegal metal theft.

The repository allows for more effective compliance with a 2008 state law that prohibited scrap metal dealers from buying metal from known thieves. The law required dealer registration, transaction tracking and mandated that dealers check all prospective sellers against government records before purchasing bulk loads of metal.

The new arrangement makes available more than 270,000 theft convictions from 196 courts that had already been collected by the Ohio Courts Network. This is being done in a manner that doesn’t require additional tasks from the participating courts.

The Public Safety Department also is working with local law enforcement and non-participating courts to include data not provided through the network.

Specific data requirements were developed by the network and Public Safety’s Division of Homeland Security for accessing relevant data for the repository. The court network will create a new data file each week under the agreement that can be retrieved by Public Safety and used to update the Do Not Buy list.

“We developed the OCN to cast a wide net of current and accurate case-related data to benefit courts and our justice system partners,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “This new development only makes the data-sharing more effective and comprehensive.”

More than 4,000 users within Ohio’s courts and criminal justice system access and share information through the network each day. Its warehouse contains 46 million records, including court cases, jail bookings, arrests, prison and supervision records, and driving histories.

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