Friday, February 29, 2008

Loss from crime

A comment on yesterday's blog post asked an interesting question:

"How does bicycle theft compare in annual dollar losses to other crime categories? I have a hunch that the monetary loss in that category is higher than any others. Am I right?"
Here's a comparison among some of the common property crimes:

The dollar amounts are a combination of the theft loss and any property damage. Although auto theft tops this partial list, it's a little misleading. In Lincoln, the vast majority of stolen autos are recovered, so the "loss" is only temporary. Joyriding and "transportation auto theft" make up the majority of our offenses. Keep in mind that these are only offenses reported to the police.

The total loss from all crimes in Lincoln during 2007 was $15,162,769.


Anonymous said...

Of course the cost of stolen cars is going to be much higher. Which one is stolen more, bikes or cars?

Tom Casady said...

Bikes: 598
Motor vehicles: 410

Anonymous said...

A lot of the reports made are by a person who stole the bike in the first place. So would this be classified as a "restolen" report? You can't put a dollar value on something that has been stolen several times.

Anonymous said...

How many of the 598 stolen bikes were locked up with a decent U-lock through both wheels and the frame, and the whole assembly secured to a tough pole, rack, or railing?

How many of the 410 stolen vehicles were locked, with the windows up, no key anywhere in the vehicle, and a club-type device lock on the steering wheel when they were stolen?

(I realize that the 598 bikes might not include UNL bike thefts)

Anonymous said...

How many of the larcenies from auto involved a vehicle that was locked, with no keys used (that includes pilfered keys used by a kid, roomie, ex, etc), and had no non-OEM items visible in the vehicle (non-factory includes aftermarket stereos that had the removable faceplates left on them, subwoofer boxes, amps, etc)?

I'm not looking for an exact number on any of these, but just an educated hunch from your long LE experience.

Tom Casady said...


I've never known of any case at all in Lincoln in which a vehicle with "The Club" attached has been stolen. Could have happened, but never that I've heard. Of our 2007 stolen vehicles, 42 were unlocked with the keys in the vehicle.

Can't tell you on the bikes--we don't collect database fields at that level of detail on bike thefts. My guess is 75% were unlocked. Some of our officers would be able to hazard a better estimate.

On the larcenties from auto, a third--1,093--were unlocked vehicles. The removable face plate is never removed, and the goodies are very often laying out in plain sight.

Simple preventive measures would suffice in many, many cases!

Anonymous said...

I also see a few incident summaries where somebody obviously didn't maintain unbroken custody/control of their keys, and their kid, sigother, ex, "friend", roomie or other perp ripped their car with the keys or copies thereof. There was one yesterday (A8-018177, those summaries are always interesting daily reading), where a car was stolen, and the victim suspected that the previous owner stole the car back!

That's not the kind of "service after the sale" that I'd appreciate. If he even suspected the old owner, I'd not be surprised if the old owner had an established larceny record already.

Anonymous said...

I missed that one by a mile. I really thought the number of stolen bikes, counting on campuses and throughout the city, would be a lot higher than those figures. Maybe a lot of these thefts are not being reported because of the insurance deductibles. I know the one time I reported the theft of my $350 bicycle my deductible was $500 and my agent advised me if I reported the theft to the Insurance company my rates would probably increase. Perfect example of a Catch 22.

It isn't always possible to find something solid to lock a bicycle to and IF the chain/cable lock is too hefty it is almost impossible to find room for it in a fanny pack, book bag etc.

Gun Nut.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of devices like The Club. Almost no one uses them here in Lincoln (or Omaha either), but I use one, because if somebody wants to rip a car, it will probably be the next car over, the one that doesn't have a club-type device on the wheel. On and off in just a few seconds. It's 30 or 40 bucks, so if that's in your discretionary budget, buy one and use it all the time (even when running in a store for 5 minutes). They can also interfere with someone boosting your driver's air bag.

It's also a strong visual hint that the owner of that vehicle is quite security-minded, meaning that in addition to the club, it's probably locked, might have an alarm and maybe a hidden kill switch, and isn't likely to have any tasty swag left in the car.

The scavenging bear wants to fill its belly with minimal effort, so it'll rip open the trash bag first, instead of the trash can, if the choice presents itself.

Anonymous said...

Once again, we demonize the victims by admonishing them for not taking precautions. I'm not saying people shouldn't. Given the frequency of these types of thefts, it is certainly a wise thing to do. On the other hand, we should be putting more emphasis on stiffer penalties for the offenders. Tom says the majority of car thefts are solved, and the owners have their vehicles returned to them. I'd be willing to bet the thieves are back on the street stealing more cars and adding to the statistics in very little time. The more of them that are behind bars, the less we would need to worry about locking up our property.

Anonymous said...

How many abandoned bikes were picked up compared to the number stolen? My theory is that there is a bunch of stolen bikes that are not reported. I know of no reason to abandon a bike unless it was stolen in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Yes, in an ideal world, we could leave an open $100,000 convertible, with the keys in the ignition, and a clear trash bag full of cash on the seat. Then we'd go away for the weekend, and have it all untouched when we return on Monday.

When you find such an ideal world, please please post the coordinates, because we'll all happily move there.

However, in the meantime, and in the world that we do live in, it's extremely unwise for anyone to make their person or their property a soft target, when hardening those targets - at least to the point that other people and their property become more appealing - takes very little expense or effort. You can't make anyone or anything crime-proof, but you can cause the criminal to move on and ply his trade elsewhere.

As for what's done with the caught criminal after prosecutors, the courts, and the correctional system (including parole boards) start doing their thing, that's pretty much out of the control of anyone with a law enforcement commission, including the guy with two stars on his collar.

Anonymous said...

I worked at the State Pen for ten years. The reasoning process of career criminals is unbelievable. The rules that inmates impose on each other are a heckuva lot stricter than the rules society imposes on them on the outside. Stealing a pack of cigarettes from another inmate can get you the Death Penalty!

The judge and the jury behind the walls have no Bleeding Hearts.

Gun Nut

WE said...

My home has been broken into twice. After initial contact with the same officer who said it was a freak thing in this part of town the first time, other than the letter for couceling we have heard nothing. You yourself said it was likely teen in an e-mail to me a while back. I have pointed out several homes where these teens congregate and walk the streets from, but hear nothing else of it. The paintball attacks that made the news were all ajoining neighbors to the one house I pointed out in my e-mail to you. This homes next door neighbor was burglarized in much the same fashion that we were. I called the officer that took both reports on my property reporting the coincedenses and the fact that these teens run together and that my neighbor kid came over wearing an electrocic ankle bracelet, nothing more reported to us. Well, my next door teen moved out for a while, all has been quiet (your crime map is a wonderful tool!)The neighbor teen is back and yesterday when I got home from work he was outside swing a golf club. As I pulled into the driveway, he went into the garage and into the house, no wave, no eye contact, (usually he does). Not too far away car window are broken by golf clubs? He is back in the neighborhood.