Toledo Crime Rate Continues on a Downward Path

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz speaks as Chief Michael Troendle and Prosecutor Rebecca Facey look on

The Truth Staff

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz held a press conference on Tuesday, October 17 to announce the results of the City of Toledo’s 2023 third quarter crime statistics which again show a significant improvement over the same period in 2022.

Year to date, crime is down significantly in all categories except auto theft. Most significantly, homicides in Toledo are down 30.4 percent from 2022, and while the downward trend is also true nationally, Toledo’s shift is much better than the national average of 11.6 percent downward year-to-date.

“I’m happy to report that the trend we have noticed in Toledo this year with the crime statistics going down has continued,” said Kapszukiewicz in his opening statement.

“I have said before, in my judgment, the biggest civic story has been how dramatically crime has gone down … this is an encouraging story. It doesn’t mean that we are satisfied or that we will stop on our efforts,” he added.

Homicides are down by 30. percent, meaning that, through the end of September, 32 murders have been committed in 2023, compared to 46 committed in 2022 during the same first nine months. Burglaries are down 15.2 percent (from 1,209 in 2022 to 1,025 in 2023); robberies are down 23.1 percent (from 389 to 299); thefts from motor vehicles are down 26.3 percent (from 1,580 to 1,136) and persons shot are down 29.7 percent (from 195 to 137).

On the other hand auto thefts have increased from 919 in 2022 to 1010 in 2023 year-to-date.

Kapszukiewicz, and Toledo Police Chief Michael Troendle, attributed the downward trend to two major reasons – the change in community relationships since the end of the COVID pandemic surge and the actions that the City and the police department have initiated.

“I believe at the end of the year, in most metrics, we are returning, after the pandemic, to what has been the norm – the 30-year average,” said the mayor.

“During the pandemic, relationships toward the police changed in ways that were frankly unhealthy and unproductive,” said Kapszukiewicz of the 2020 through 2022 years when crime in general and homicides in particular soared. (63 in 2022, 70 in 2021 and 57 in 2020 compared to 38 in 2019 and 36 in 2018).

“Anxiety during the pandemic was a factor, our story is different now,” he added.

However, “our efforts locally have mattered,” he also noted.

In December 2022, the City adopted a plan that has made a difference, the mayor said, involving elements such as increasing the number of police officers and getting them out of their cars and patrolling the streets, clearing blight in neighborhoods, increasing programs for youth, dealing with neighborhood issues (such as with the violence interrupters), attracting business investment and providing housing stability.

Chief Troendle also emphasized the impact of foot patrols on crime during his remarks. The foot patrols started in June and will end, for the year, at the end of October.

“None of this can happen without getting men and women out of cars and on foot,” he said of the improvement in crime statistics. “Our community has also played a big part,” he added of the reaction to police officers patrolling on foot and interacting with residents.

Addressing what he feels has been negative feedback on the declining homicides, Troendle noted that such numbers are not merely a coincidence. “Shootings over the past year are 18.75 percent down,” he said. “We are making strides but we have a lot more to do.”

Earlier this year, the mayor hired Rebecca Facey as a prosecutor to focus on domestic violence. She has added three prosecutors on her staff to deal with the issue and has been able “to apply more resources towards prosecuting offenders and protecting violence,” Kapszukiewicz said.

The most troubling issue with this year’s crime statistics is the increased involvement of youth. “It’s unfortunate that the age of victims and shooters is getting so low,” said Troendle.

The one area in which crime has increased is auto theft, which is up 9.9 percent year-to-date in Toledo. This statistic is also reflected in a national trend. Ohio is third in the nation in the increase of auto thefts, following Illinois and New York, with a 15 percent increase in thefts through the first half of 2023.

In particular, Kia and Hyundai thefts surged in cities nationwide after a popular TikTok video showed viewers how to steal the cars, a fact which the mayor and the chief conceded could be at least part of the problem, even though the thefts of many models have been on the rise.