Stolen vehicle complaints decrease 19% in Syracuse

Stolen vehicle complaints decrease 19% in Syracuse

Despite the overall decrease, parts of the city are seeing a rise in complaints with 56.4% coming from the Northside.
Published: March 16, 2021
Stolen Vehicles Illustration

The number of stolen vehicle complaints in the city of Syracuse dropped 19% compared to 2020, and 5% compared to the last five years, according to the Syracuse Police Department. This decreasing trend, however, does not necessarily indicate that vehicle thefts have been alleviated in the entire city.

According to SPD data, over the past two months, the SPD has received a total of 78 complaints on stolen vehicles, meaning there is at least one vehicle stolen per day. Among these cases, 44 took place in the Northside, and the rest were split almost evenly amongst the city’s Southeast and Southwest sides.

Last Tuesday around 6:24 p.m., a 28-year-old stole a car near the 2700 block of Erie Boulevard East. Two 32-year-old female victims reported to the Syracuse Police Department that their children were inside the car and were driven away with the suspect.

The victims reported that they parked their car in front of Erawan, a Thai restaurant on the block, and then went inside to retrieve food, leaving their four children — ages 6, 5, 2, and 6 months — in the unattended car with the key inside. While the adults were inside, the suspect, later identified as Aaliah Kimbrough, entered the vehicle and drove away with the kids.

Shortly after the theft, Officers Kalie Dorn and Montserrat Garcia located the stolen vehicle near Erie Blvd E. and Thompson Rd. After stopping the car, they apprehended the suspect and brought the children, none of whom sustained any injuries, back to their family.

Kimbrough is now being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center and has been charged with Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in the third degree, four counts of Unlawful Imprisonment, four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Criminal Mischief in the fourth degree

“I don’t have a specific reason why the Northside has more, but we continue to remind residence to secure their vehicles through news stories, social media, and walking the neighborhoods handing out flyers,” Sgt. Matthew Malinowski, public information officer at the SPD, said.

Malinowski added that SPD has not seen a lot of stolen vehicle thefts without the keys in the car, also known as hot wiring.

Although the reason for a higher number of cases in the Northside remains unclear, SPD has found several juvenile groups that have been consistently committing these types of crimes since last year. Because they were arrested several times, this might have led to the slight decrease in this year’s data, Malinowski said.

Sgt. Jon Seeber, public information officer at Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, pointed out that the reason that police are seeing more crimes conducted by juvenile groups relates to the Raise the Age legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Under this law, New York raised the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18- year-olds, which allows “young people who commit non-violent crimes to receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need,” according to the Governor’s website.

“Since New York’s Raise the Age law went into effect in 2017, we have seen an increase in juveniles stealing vehicles,” Seeber wrote in an email.

At the county level, Seeber said that police have found that in most cases vehicle thefts happen either because the owner left the keys in their unattended vehicle, or the suspect was able to steal the keys from an unlocked residence during the overnight hours.

Malinowski also agreed that owners need to be more aware of their unsecured behaviors.

“The only time the vehicle should be left running is when someone is in the driver seat maintaining control of the vehicle,” Malinowski said. “When you leave your car, you should shut the engine off, remove the keys and lock all doors.”

Avatar for Kaizhao Zero Lin

was the lead data producer at The NewsHouse and an alumnus majored in international relations and news/digital journalism at Syracuse University.