In a heated public safety meeting this morning at City Hall, sandwiched between comments about integration of fire and EMS services and the media-fraught November police chase, Safety Director Martin Flask and Police Chief Mike McGrath presented council with information about auto thefts in Cleveland.
There were 4,225 instances of Grand Theft Auto in 2012, down slightly from 4,557 in 2011. Of those, a full two-thirds of were recovered, though McGrath admitted that there are now no officers dedicated to the auto-theft detail. In 2005, McGrath said, a sergeant and two detectives worked the beat full-time.
For the second consecutive year, Dodge Caravans are the most frequently stolen vehicles. In 2012, 330 were nabbed. Councilman Mike Polensek, who lamented the loss of his Plymouth Voyager (1 of 4 vehicles the councilman has had stolen in his lifetime), asked McGrath what the story was with all the minivan thefts.
"They're easy to steal," said McGrath, "and they're easy to use for other crimes."
The other models making the top-10 list each of the past three years weren't vans: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Acura Integra, Olds Cutlass, Buick Century.
But if your car is stolen, there's always the Horseshoe Casino's Car-a-day giveaway.