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2022 Columbus crime report: 33% drop in homicides, 22% increase in car thefts

There were nearly 7,800 cars reported stolen in the city last year. Of those, 45% were Hyundais and Kias.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After two years of record-setting homicides, violent crime was down in the city of Columbus for 2022, but one crime skyrocketed: car thefts.

Reports of stolen cars were up 22% last year, according to the Columbus Division of Police. There were nearly 7,800 cars reported stolen in the city. Of those, 45% were Hyundais and Kias.

CrimeTracker 10 reported dozens of times in 2022 on the rise in vehicle thefts of the two brands, mainly at the hands of a juvenile group known as the "Kia Boys."

“These are gateway crimes with these stolen cars,” said Columbus Police Commander Duane Mabry.

Mabry explains while the problem surged in the summer, police saw a decrease by the end of the year, thanks to their efforts.

“When we talked back in July those numbers were really astronomical. What's changed, when we did enforcement efforts and community engagement, we tried some things that were outside the box, we had a meeting with the parents and NAACP, the city and really from that meeting on, we saw a nose dive on those numbers,” Mabry explained.

Clinton Zehr had his Hyundai stolen during the summer.

“I looked down at the pavement and there was a pile of glass. Then it kind of sets in,” Zehr said.

While car thefts were up, violent crimes like homicides were down.

There were fewer homicides last year than in each of the previous two years, and more of the homicides were solved.

There was a 33% drop in homicides in 2022 compared to last year. In addition, the city saw a decrease in several other categories compared to 2021:

  • Robberies decreased by 32%
  • Burglaries decreased by 21%
  • Felonious assaults decreased by 16%
  • Rapes decreased by 5.7%

“The community engagement is huge, the tips that we have been getting, people wanting to be involved,” said Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant.

Community leaders like Ralph Carter, the founder of We are Linden, says he is seeing the work in the streets and the reduction in crime.

“I know other local organizations like myself are working more closely with CPD and the city as well. I think we are heading into the right direction,” Carter said.

According to the city, Columbus saw the biggest percentage drop in homicides among the 20 largest U.S. cities, including Cincinnati and Cleveland. The national average for murders in big cities was a 5% reduction.

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