Chief says auto theft not as bad in St. Joe as claimed

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By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Auto theft might be a problem in St. Joseph, but St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally insists it isn’t as bad as a national publication organization claims.

“We have an auto theft problem, like many similar cities and like many cities in Missouri,” Connally says on the KFEQ Hotline.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ranks St. Joseph 10th in the nation in auto thefts, which is an improvement from 5th in 2017.

Connally says the calculation is flawed. The St. Joseph metro area includes four counties. Other comparable cities are lumped together in the Kansas City or St. Louis metropolitan area.

“I even had someone come to me and (say) we’re the worst in Missouri when it comes to auto theft,” Connally says. “No, we aren’t. We have too much auto theft, without a doubt. But, when you look at all cities in Missouri, no, we are not the worst in Missouri.”

Connally claims several Missouri cities have a worse vehicle theft problem than St. Joseph. He points out cities such as Raytown, North Kansas City, and Independence are included in the Kansas City metropolitan area, contending that each of those cities have a worse vehicle theft problem than St. Joseph. The same goes for Bellefontaine Neighbors and Berkeley, both St. Louis suburbs incorporated into the St. Louis metro area that, if separated out, would show a higher auto theft rate than St. Joseph, according to Connally. The police chief claims St. Joseph has less of a problem than Springfield and Branson.

“All those cities have a higher auto theft rate than we do,” according to Connally.

He says the city has pointed on the discrepancies to the Insurance Crime Bureau, but to no avail.

Connally says the auto theft that does occur in St. Joseph is usually a crime of opportunity, not the stealing of high-end vehicles or the taking of cars for their parts and selling them to chop shops. Connally says the “don’t make it easy” campaign addresses the biggest problem.

“And some of those things are don’t make it easy by leaving your car door unlocked, leaving your keys (in the ignition), lending a vehicle to somebody who is unreliable,” says Connally.