Cold weather brings major drop in most Cincinnati crimes, but rise in auto thefts

CINCINNATI -- Police say Cincinnati’s recent bout of freezing weather may be making the city safer as crime is down significantly.

But even though criminals don't like to go out in the cold, there is one crime that's on the rise.

Compared to data taken before Christmas to data this past month, burglary is down 8 percent, rape dropped 38 percent, robbery fell 31 percent and aggravated assaults are down 49 percent. 

But auto thefts are up citywide by 20 percent, from 81 to more than 100.

Cincinnati Police District 4 Captain Mike Neville said that's because of a habit people have in the cold weather.

"People (are) leaving their cars running when they warm them up in the morning,” Neville said. “(They’re) also leaving them running at the gas pumps."

Cincinnati resident John South left his truck running with the door open Friday outside an apartment in Mount Adams.

South said he wasn’t worried someone might take his car and he left it running because of the cold.

"The battery dies pretty often because of how cold it has been," South said. “If you look at my license plate, I’m a veteran. So if someone takes my car, I’ll handle the situation. I'm very aware of my surroundings."

But Neville said that’s the wrong way to handle the situation and precautions need to be taken.

"People believe, ‘It won't happen to me. I’m immune. Not me.’ Well, yes you," Neville said.

Neville said the city has a strategy to keep people aware of their unattended vehicles.

Cincinnati police are placing notices on cars they find unattended, telling drivers they are a target for theft.

Neville said it is also illegal in Cincinnati and other communities to leave your car running unattended.

For more on that, click here.

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