Driving may have been down due to the pandemic, but criminal activity wasn't

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 20:03:30-05

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.

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