CLEVELAND — COVID-19 kept Ohioans at home and off the roads for several months last year, but while driving was down, newly release numbers by the Ohio State Highway Patrol show a surge in criminal activity.
“We’re seeing significant spikes in those areas and it’s concerning,” said Sgt Ray Santiago, OHP Public Affairs Unit.
In 2020, there was a 30% increase in incidents involving illegal weapons. OSHP numbers show 1,743 guns were seized statewide from Ohio’s roadways, with 462 of those being from Northeast Ohio.
Along with weapons, troopers removed 6,162 pounds of marijuana, more than double the amount taken in 2019. Troopers also confiscated 225 pounds of methamphetamine and 129 pounds of fentanyl. Seizures such as 18,843 opiate pills, 9,202 depressant pills, 3,006 stimulant pills, and 1,692 hallucinogen pills surpassed 2019.
“Ohio’s transportation network makes our state a gateway to other parts of the country, and unfortunately, traffickers use our highways as they transport deadly drugs and other contraband. Every time our troopers confiscate illegal guns or narcotics during a traffic stop, it has a direct impact on the safety of our communities and our families,” said Ohio Governor Mike Dewine.
In addition, troopers recovered 1,471 stolen vehicles, a 23% increase from 2019.
“Every day our troopers are on Ohio’s roads, removing felons and criminal activities from our communities,” said Lieutenant Rob Gable, Cleveland Post commander. “By looking beyond the traffic stop, troopers are able to keep illegal items out of our communities,” said Lieutenant Leo Shirley, Canton Post Commander.
Santiago said Troopers are asking for the public’s help on Ohio roads. Dial #677 if you see suspicious activity.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.