KETTERING — The city saw a sharp rise in automobile thefts — consistent with national trends — and a strong increase in the number of arrests last year.
Reported stolen vehicles in Kettering jumped more than 580%, from 14 two years ago to 82 last year, according to city police records. Total arrests in the city rose about 20%, from 1,373 to 1,697 over the same time.
Meanwhile, Kettering’s total number of serious “Part I” offenses as defined by the FBI increased very slightly from 1,036 two years ago to 1,052 in 2022, according to a recently released report.
Those crimes include homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson.
Kettering Police Chief Chip Protsman said he is encouraged by the relatively low numbers of those offenses and violent crimes in the city.
“I think it says a lot” for the department “and I think it says a lot for our citizens,” Protsman said.
The number of homicides last year went unchanged at one. Rapes, aggravated assaults and arsons rose slightly, while burglaries and larcenies — which include general thefts — both dropped, the data shows.
The number of thefts — automobiles or otherwise — are the most concerning, Protsman said.
“Thefts are obviously the biggest issue that we have in Kettering,” he said. “So, we look at the arrests of the individuals involved in that type of activity and then see if we are affecting the thefts down the road.”
Protsman said police are “working on some ways to try to reduce that.”
Motor vehicle thefts nationwide are up 25.1% since 2019. More than 1 million occurred in 2022, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau analysis.
Kettering’s auto theft issues are similar to other cities’ with Hyundais and Kias commonly being targeted, Protsman said.
The city also saw an ongoing rash of thefts at U.S. Post Office outside drop boxes until federal officials changed access from traditional arrow keys to digital access, officials said.
Those crimes involved both the Hempstead Station Drive and the Forrer Boulevard post office sites. Kettering police got federal permission to use GPS tracking devices in “dummy” drop box parcels, leading to arrests and convictions, federal records show.
“The mailbox issues were a big concern for us and spent a lot of time and a lot of manpower on that issue,” Protsman said. “Our detectives and vice units did a great job in coming up with creative ways to both monitor and identify individuals who were involved in that.”
Kettering police responded to 60,217 calls for service last year, about 2,000 fewer than 2021. The city did not record a traffic fatality, issued nine fewer OVI citations (207) and 256 more speeding tickets (1,326), records show.
As a whole, Protsman said, Kettering’s crime totals for last year “shows what we know: That Kettering is a good, safe place to live and work.”
Kettering crime statistics
Source: Kettering Police Department