Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Auto thefts in St. Petersburg drop 1.1 percent from last year

 U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, left, takes notes as St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, right, talks about car thefts in St. Petersburg during a meeting in July.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, left, takes notes as St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, right, talks about car thefts in St. Petersburg during a meeting in July.

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Police announced a drop in auto thefts Thursday, citing a multi-pronged approach for the reason behind the 1.1 percent difference from last year.

Compared to this time last year, Chief Tony Holloway said police saw drops in earlier months. The number of auto thefts so far in 2017 are 719, down from 727 last year.

"We're starting to see them go down," said Holloway, who credited the department's multi-faceted approach over the past months for the lower auto theft rates.

In April, the Tampa Bay Times published a series detailing the car theft epidemic in Pinellas County. The Times analyzed a year-and-a-half worth of cases, finding that kids were crashing stolen cars every four days.

HOT WHEELS: Kids are driving a car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous — sometimes deadly — game.

Following the investigation, U.S. Rep Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, along with other local leaders and politicians, said more needed to be done to prevent kids from stealing cars. The Florida Legislature passed bills that would make it easier to detain chronic offenders for longer periods of time, whether in a detention center or on an electric monitor.

RELATED: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on juvenile auto theft: "People are dying because of what's happening here."

Among the department's efforts were greater cooperation with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, using the property crime unit to handle auto thefts and arrests, focusing on youth gang crime, and weekly reviews of auto theft data trends, according to a news release.

Holloway said the most effective part was spreading information through social media, reminding residents to take their keys out of their cars and to make sure their doors are locked to give thieves one less opportunity.

Additionally, the department monitors habitual offenders, checking in on them every day or every other day, he said.

Auto thefts in St. Petersburg drop 1.1 percent from last year 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 12:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Iconic Key West marker restored after Hurricane Irma (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    KEY WEST — Artists have restored one of the most photographed tourism icons in the Florida Keys after it was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

    In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, artist Danny Acosta completes lettering the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A. marker Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, in Key West. One of the most-photographed tourism icons in the Florida Keys was pummeled by Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10, stripping most of the paint and a large chunk of stucco. [Rob O'Neal | Florida Keys News Bureau via AP]
  2. Police seek suspect who critically wounded Pinellas Park bicyclist

    Crime

    PINELLAS PARK — A Pinellas Park man was critically injured Monday night after he was shot while riding his bicycle.

  3. Pasco considers new tax districts for parks, libraries, public safety

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Faced with growing costs amid an expected voter-endorsed tax cut, Pasco County is considering changing the way it pays for parks, libraries and public safety.

    
Pasco County is considering a new taxing district to finance an expansion and ongoing operations of the county's Department of Parks,Recreaton and Natural Resources. Shown is the Dick's Tournament of Champions at the the  Wesley Chapel District Park, the last district park developed by the county. It opened in 2007.
  4. Ruskin man sought in fatal stabbing of roommate

    Crime

    RUSKIN — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has issued an arrest warrant for the suspect who fatally stabbed his roommate in a Ruskin home on Monday afternoon.

    Angel Calix, shown during a June 2016 arrest, is wanted in the fatal stabbing of a Ruskin man on Oct. 23, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Romano: Why flood insurance might not be enough to save your home

    Local Government

    Irma is gone, and Maria never came.

    And yet this is as good a time as any to worry.

    Justin Lyons' room in his Valrico house that was flooded following Hurricane Irma on September 20, 2017. Lyons lives near the Alafia River and had to evacuate his home about a week before, in the middle of the night, as the waters rose. Lyons has been staying at the house because he doesn't want his family's remaining belongings to be stolen.