Dayton car thefts surge: What are police doing to address them?

Dayton police have recovered 122 vehicles and arrested 11 people this year for receiving stolen property related to a motor vehicle theft as they work to tamp down a surge of them.

From the beginning of this year through Feb. 6, there were 241 reports of vehicle theft or attempted theft of a vehicle in the city. About 47 vehicles reported stolen have not been recovered, according to Dayton police data obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Of the 11 arrests linked to receiving stolen property related to a motor vehicle this year, nine are juveniles. A Dayton police spokesman said there were likely additional theft arrests related to motor vehicles that just aren’t broken out in their reporting.

Many of the stolen vehicles were Kias or Hyundais vulnerable to theft because of a design flaw that makes them easy to steal. Police urge Kia and Hyundai owners to obtain and use steering wheel locks or immobilization devices to try to prevent them from being victims of this auto theft crime wave. Car owners also are warned not to leave their keys in their vehicles.

Dayton police this week report that dozens of fixed license plate readers were deployed downtown and in the Westwood, Old North Dayton and Twin Towers neighborhoods. One feature touted for such cameras is their usefulness in tracking stolen vehicles.

Records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show the 241 thefts or attempted thefts reported this year were not concentrated in any particular areas and instead were spread throughout the city.

Numerous vehicles were reported stolen in the corridor between Salem Avenue and U.S. 48, though no cameras were installed in northwest Dayton.

Police said these fixed-site plate readers were installed after city staff reviewed and approved local neighborhood safety plans. The cameras were only placed in neighborhoods where community feedback indicated they were wanted, according to police department spokesman James Rider.

Rider said the cameras just came online so haven’t had a chance to have a large impact on the theft situation yet.

He said last week saw the lowest week since mid-July in reported thefts of Kias and Hyundais.

Reporter Cornelius Frolik contributed to this report.

About the Author