Ohio Crime Mapping Part 9 | Robbery 1974-2008

Robbery has been defined by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.” US common law generally treats robbery as an aggravated for of larceny, with the main elements defining robbery being “a trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to steal from the person or presence of the victim by for or threat of force.” What differentiates larceny from robbery is the last two elements described in the law: “from the person or presence of the victim by force or threat of force.” There a few main types of robbery that include armed robbery (use of a weapon), aggravated robbery (use of a deadly weapon) and highway robbery (mugging in a public place) which includes everything from bank robberies to car airline jackings to home invasions.
Nationwide in 2009, the US experienced around 408,217 robberies, a decrease of 8.0% and 2.2% respectively from the 2008 and 2005 estimates. However, this is a slight increase from the 2000 estimates. The estimates for 2009 equated to roughly 13.30 robberies for every 10,000 residents in the US, an 8.8% decrease nationwide. All told, an estimated $508 million in losses were the result of the robberies in 2009, which was an average loss per robbery of roughly $1,244. The average loss was the highest in banks, which averaged $4,029 lost per robbery. A wide variety of weapons and tools were used in these robberies, but firearms accounted for the largest percentage with 42.6% of the robberies nationwide involving them; close behind was strong-arm tactics accounting for 41.1% of the robberies. The remaining robberies included the use of knives and other cutting instruments or other dangerous weapons.



Source: FBI UCR website

In the Ohio MSA’s with a 93.5% reporting rate, there were 16,710 robberies in 2009, an estimated 17,100 with a 100% report rate. In the cities outside the MSA’s with only 80.6% of the areas reporting, there were 447 reported robberies, which with a 100% reporting rate was estimated to be 554 robberies. Finally, in the Ohio non-MSA areas with a 90.6% report rate, there were an estimated 204 robberies, which with a 100% reporting rate was estimated to be 225 robberies. Statewide, this equated to roughly 33.21 robberies for every 10,000 residents. It is reminded that our calculated rates are per 10,000 people per year.

Our first study period, 1974 through 1978, was with little surprise to what counties posted the highest robbery rates.  Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) edged out Montgomery County (Dayton) for the top spot, with 45.70 and 43.19 robberies for every 10,000 people respectively.  Lucas County (Toledo) was also not far behind, falling into third place with 37.28 robberies per 10,000 people.  Rounding out the top five was the remaining two urban counties, Franklin (Columbus) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) Counties, with 26.62 and 21.49 robberies per 10,000 people respectively.  Interestingly, the next three spots were also filled with areas with larger cities, as Mahoning (Youngstown), Summit (Akron) and Clark (Lima) Counties placed near the top of the state.  Monroe County, in  Western Ohio, had the lowest recorded robbery rate, with only 0.13 robberies per 10,000 people.

Little changed across the State of Ohio concerning robbery rates from 1979 through 1983.  In fact, the top five counties all retained their exact positions with only the state average dropping.  Cuyahoga, Montgomery, Lucas, Franklin and Hamilton recorded 40.98, 39.49, 31.9302, 31.9300 and 20.18 robberies for every 10,000 residents respectively.  The only notable exception occurred outside of the top five, as Allen County (Lima) surged into seventh place behind Mahoning County.  Paulding County in Northwest Ohio claimed the least number of robberies for 10,000 people, with only 0.16.

For 1984 through 1988, a few notable changes occurred, most notably another significant statewide decrease.  Franklin County climbed to the first position, recording 34.55 robberies per 10,000 residents.  Cuyahoga and Montgomery Counties recorded decreases, managing to fall in to second and third places, with 33.87 and 33.63 robberies per 10,000 respectively.  Lucas County distanced itself from third place, with only 24.54 robberies per 10,000.  Mahoning County climbed in to the top five for the first time, recording 19.62 robberies per 10,000 and knocking Hamilton County to sixth place, with 19.47.  An apparent lack of data and reporting began to occur in the UCR data from 1984 through 1988, as 7 counties recorded zero robberies during the time frame.  Holmes County,  Northeast of Columbus, had the lowest robbery rate with a recording with only 0.09 robberies per 10,000 residents.

1989 through 1993 began a tumultuous time in the State of Ohio as the number of robberies spiked to their highest level (barely edging out 1974 though 1978) in our study.  Mahoning County recorded a substantial leap of almost 26 robberies per 10,000 people, to 45.77.  Close behind was previous leader, Franklin County, with 43.37 robberies for every 10,000 residents.  Cuyahoga, Lucas and Montgomery Counties rounded out the top five with 42.83, 37.57 and 34.00 robberies per 10,000 people respectively.  Hamilton County fell to seventh place overall, limiting its robbery increase significantly better than other urban counties, recording 28.42 robberies for every 10,000 people.  8 counties across the state had zero recorded robberies during this time; Putnam County had the lowest robbery rate from 1989 through 1993, with 0.10 robberies per 10,000.

The State of Ohio began to substantially curb the robbery rates from 1994 through 1998, presumably in response to the surge in the previous time frame.  Cuyahoga County again climbed in to the top spot, with 40.81 robberies for every 10,00 residents.  Not too far behind was Franklin and Mahoning Counties, with 36.62 and 34.10 robberies for every 10,000 residents.  Finishing out our top five was Lucas and Montgomery Counties with 29.58 and 28.18 robberies per 10,000 people.  Continuing to buck the trend built by other urban counties, Hamilton County fell to eighth place overall, falling to 19.46 robberies per 10,000 people.  11 counties had zero recorded robberies from 1994 through 1998 with the lowest robbery rate with a recording going to Union County, a suburban county of Columbus, with only 0.06 robberies per 10,000 people.

From 1999 through 2003, the state recorded its lowest average number of robberies throughout our study, with Franklin County obtaining the top spot with 34.81 robberies per 10,000 people.  Lucas and Cuyahoga Counties claimed second and third with 28.03 and 27.75 robberies for every 10,000 residents.  Interestingly, Hamilton County climbed back to the leader board with 26.59 robberies per 10,000 people.  In our final position was Montgomery County with 24.84 robberies per 10,000 people.  Only two counties (Putnam and Monroe) went without a recorded robbery from 1999 through 2003; Geauga County, just outside of Cleveland, had the lowest robbery rate with a recording at only 0.03 robberies for every 10,000 people.

Our final study period, 2004 through 2008, again saw a surge in robberies across the state.  Franklin County retained  its position as leader in the state with 37.12 robberies per 10,000 people.  Cuyahoga and Hamilton Counties claim in a close second and third with 35.86 and 34.24 robberies for every 10,000 people.  Rounding out the top five was Lucas and Montgomery Counties with 30.40 and 21.07 robberies per 10,000 people respectively.  From 2004 through 2008, four counties had no recordings of robberies; Knox County had the lowest recorded robbery rate with only 0.08 per 10,000 people.

All told, it appears as though Ohio has had mixed success in combating robberies across the state.  57 out of the 88 counties reported decreases from 1974 through 2008, with one county remaining unchanged.  However in recent years, statewide there has been an increase in the total number of robberies.  It appeared as though the state was on the right track from 1974 through 1988 and again from 1994 through 2004, only to experience drastic surges in the robbery rate.  Interestingly, two of the major counties, Franklin and Hamilton reported increases while the other three major counties, Cuyahoga, Lucas and Montgomery, reported decreases.  Geographically, it also seems as though the increases plagued the west side of the state where as the east side mostly reported decreases.

It appears as though the State of Ohio has had periods of successes and failures in combating robbery rates.  It may be beneficial to look at what was successful in the 70’s and 80’s and again in the later 90’s to evaluate what is causing the surges.  Arguably, the most important factor is curbing the overall increases experienced in Franklin and Hamilton Counties.  It will be interesting to see where the next 5 years takes the state.