Ohio Crime Mapping Part 3 | Burglary 1974-2008

This week, in part three of our study of Ohio crime rates, we took a look at burglary. Also known as “breaking and entering” or less commonly, “housebreaking,” burglary has been defined by the FBI as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.” The Uniform Crime Reporting Program has further defined “structure” to include apartments, barn, house trailer, or house boat when being used as a permanent dwelling, office, railroad car, stable and vessel. The UCR data has subdivided the burglary data into three classifications: forcible entry, unlawful entry without the use of force, and attempted forcible entry. As with arson, the definition of a burglary can vary from state to state and even at the territorial level, so it can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. Technically speaking, a burglary committed at nighttime is defined as a “housebreaking,” not a burglary. In many states, a burglary is punished significantly harsher than a housebreaking, usually differing from a burglary in the first degree to a burglary in the second degree.
From 2008 to 2009, the United States experienced a 1.3% decrease in burglaries, down to 2,199,125. However, in comparison to the 2005 data, this is a 2% increase and a 7.2% increase from 2000. Burglary made up 23.6% of the estimated property crimes in 2009, accounting for an estimated $4.6 billion in property losses (about $2,096 per offense). 61% of the burglaries involved forcible entry, 32.6% were unlawful entries without force, and 6.5% were forcible entry attempts. Of these burglaries in 2009, 72.6% were on residential property.
Within Ohio, there were 104,213 reported burglaries in the state in 2009. The metropolitan statistical areas accounted for a large portion of these burglaries, with 87,427 with a 93.5% reporting rate (estimated total with 100% reporting was 90,795). The cities outside the MSA’s only had an 80.6% reporting rate, accounting for 5,615 burglaries (estimated toal with 100% reporting was 6,963). Finally, the non-MSA areas had 90.6% of the areas reporting for a total of 5,851 burglaries in 2009 (estimated total with 100% reporting was 6,455). With 104,213 burglaries and an estimated 11,542,645 residents, this was 90.29 burglaries for every 10,000 residents of the State of Ohio.

Our first time frame in the study of burglaries across Ohio is 1974 to 1978. As expected, burglary is a crime that heavily plagues denser urban areas more so than other crimes. Montgomery County, which includes Dayton, led the state in this time frame with 213.40 burglaries per 10,000 residents. This is a fairly substantial lead over the next three counties, Franklin (Columbus), Lucas (Toledo) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) which recorded 192.68, 183.58 and 148.33 burglaries per 10,000 residents. Rounding out the top 5 in burglaries was Summit County, southwest of Cleveland, with 142.20 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Cuyahoga County recorded a substantially smaller number of burglaries than the other counties with a major metro area, with only 126.58 per 10,000 people. Monroe County in the west-southwestern corner of Ohio recorded the lowest number of burglaries from 1974 to 1978, with only 27.15 per 10,000 residents.

1979 to 1983 experienced a slight change in the top 5 counties in burglary, with Franklin County assuming the lead with 221.09 burglaries for every 10,000 people. Lucas County climbed to second place with 219.06 burglaries per 10,000 people while previously leader, Montgomery, fell to third place with 215.34 burglaries per 10,000. While the ranking dropped to third, this is still a slight increase for the county, and the state as a whole during this time frame. Closing out the top 5 was Allen and Muskingum Counties with 174.82 and 158.70 burglaries for every 10,000 people. Cuyahoga County experienced an increase to 155.91 burglaries per 10,000 while Hamilton County managed a minor decrease to 147.70 per 10,000 people. The county recording the lowest number of burglaries from 1979 to 1982 remained the same as the previous time frame with Monroe County recording only 3.14 burglaries for every 10,000 people.

There was a significant decrease in burglaries from 1984 to 1988, with Franklin County maintaining the top position in the state at 179.55 burglaries for every 10,000 people. This number was significantly down from the previous recording of 221.09, as was the average across the state. Lucas and Montgomery Counties took second and third place with 146.01 and 142.80 burglaries per 10,000 people. Rounding out the top 5 was Allen and Marion Counties with 135.43 and 128.38 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Cuyahoga and Hamilton Counties also experienced substantial decreases in their burglaries per 10,000 people, with only 123.77 and 105.36 respectively. There appears to again be incomplete data from 1984 to 1988, as Hancock and Meigs County recorded zero burglaries after previously recording numbers from anywhere between 45 and 70 per 10,000 in our previous study periods. Noble County in Western Ohio had the lowest recorded burglary rate with only 4.32 per 10,000 people.

1989 to 1993 again saw an increase in the overall burglary rate in Ohio. Franklin County again led the way with 191.08 burglaries per 10,000 people. Closely behind was Allen County with 184.18 per 10,000 people. This study period witnessed a new comer to the burglary leaders, with Mahoning County jumping to third in the state, with 175.99 burglaries for every 10,000 people. Rounding out the top 5 was Lucas and Richland, another new comer, with 154.25 and 142.36 burglaries per 10,000 residents. In a time where the state saw fairly large increases in burglary rates, Cuyahoga County recorded a decrease down to 107.48 per 10,000 while Hamilton County recorded a minimal increase to 115.11 burglaries per 10,000. 5 counties from 1989 to 1993 had no recorded burglaries; Paulding County in northeast Ohio was the county with the lowest burglary rate with a recording, with only 8.20 per 10,000 residents.

From 1994 to 1998, Franklin and Mahoning Counties maintained their positions at first and third with 162.11 and 139.81 burglaries per 10,000 people respectively. This study period Lucas County jumped to second with 149.72 per 10,000 and Allen County fell to fourth with 125.24 burglaries per 10,000 people. Finishing off the top five was Marion County with 118.38 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Montgomery, Cuyahoga and Hamilton Counties all stayed further down the list with 115.78, 92.21 and 71.68 burglaries for every 10,000 people respectively. 7 counties had no recorded burglaries in this time frame, but Carroll County in west/northwestern Ohio had the lowest recorded burglary rate from 1994 to 1998 with only 1.00 per 10,000 people.

In 1999 to 2003, for the fifth consecutive study period, Franklin County maintained its position at the top of the list for burglary rates, with 166.30 burglaries for every 10,000 people. While this is a slight increase for Franklin County, maintaining its position at number two, Lucas County saw a decrease to 138.52 burglaries per 10,000 people. Rounding out the top five was Clark, Scioto and Montgomery Counties with 134.41, 116.91 and 109.51 burglaries for every 10,000 people respectively. Hamilton and Cuyahoga Counties maintained their trend of coming in significantly lower than other urban counties, with 90.12 and 76.62 burglaries per 10,000 people. In contrast to many other study periods, 1999 to 2003 had data for every county, with Knox County having the lowest burglary rate with only 1.20 burglaries per 10,000 people.

2004 to 2008 was the first study period since 1974 to 1978 that saw a leader in burglaries other than Franklin County. Scioto County experienced an explosion in burglaries, pushing it to 165.91 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Coming in a close second and third was Lucas and Franklin Counties with 161.66 and 155.67 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Clark and Gallia Counties rounded out the top five, with 142.16 and 123.81 burglaries per 10,000 people respectively. Montgomery, Hamilton and Cuyahoga Counties reported significantly lower rates, with only 102.45, 102.18 and 95.23 burglaries for every 10,000 residents. Noble and Monroe Counties both managed to record less than one burglary per 10,000 residents, with 0.45 and 0.96 burglaries per 10,000.

60 of the 88 counties in Ohio reported a decrease in burglary rates from 1974 to 2008. Interestingly, all of the counties who saw increases were rural counties, especially those in Southern Ohio. While many other rural counties saw decreases, this is most notable because all of the counties containing major or even smaller urban areas were able to decrease their burglary rates over the study period. However, it is also important to note that Franklin County led 5 of the 7 possible time frames in burglary rates. Over our study period, the late 70’s and early 80’s were the years where Ohio experienced its worst burglary rates. There was a steady decrease statewide after the maximum, up until more recently where it has again started to increase.
Overall, it appears as though the State of Ohio has actively pursued controlling and reducing the number of burglaries. Many of the same counties maintained the top of the list in terms of burglaries, but still experienced decreases in line with that of the state average. One would expect to see more slight increases in the current times due to the downturn in the economy, but hopefully the tactics used to decrease burglary rates in the 80’s can again be employed full force in modern times. Ohio appears to be on the right track in terms of limiting and eliminating burglaries.