LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Major cities across the U.S. have reported more car thefts during the pandemic. New York has seen a 63% jump and Los Angeles reports a 17 percent hike in car thefts so far this year compared to 2019.
Master Sergeant Patrick O’Grady with Cape Coral Police Department said crime stats for the last three months compared to the same time in 2019 show that’s not the case in Cape Coral.
“Last year we had 31 [car thefts] and this year we’ve had 23 to date,” he said.
O’Grady said general thefts, however, have jumped from 81 to 126 during that time period.
He said aggravated assault has also jumped by 23 percent. Both crimes he said can be a direct impact of the pandemic.
“That can also be caused by people being at home, losing their jobs, self-medicating through alcohol and drugs,” he said.
Officer Kristin Capuzzi with the Fort Myers Police Department has noticed a preliminary decline in crimes across the board from the past few months compared to 2019.
“Last year we had 132 assaults. This year we’re at 89 in that time period,” she said.
They’ve seen a 19 percent decrease in car thefts, but Capuzzi said don’t let the decline make you comfortable. She said stay vigilant, take your valuables out of your car and keep it locked.