Vehicle theft in King County remains consistent during COVID-19 outbreak

Vehicle theft in King County remains consistent during COVID-19 outbreak

Thieves stole 61 vehicles in 48-hour period this week

Car thieves in King County are staying as busy as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sixty-one vehicles were stolen during a 48-hour period earlier this week, according to the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force, which is dedicated to investigating prolific auto theft offenders through multi-agency cooperation.

“Sadly, these numbers are pretty consistent,” said Sgt. Jeff Maijala, a member of the task force, in a Thursday email to the Kent Reporter.

An average of 30 vehicles were stolen daily in King County in January, 23 in February and 24 in March, Maijala said.

In 2019, the averages were similar as well.

There were 9,938 vehicles reported stolen in King County last year, an average of 27 per day.

The city of Kent ranked ninth in the nation in 2018 with 4.98 cars stolen for every 1,000 residents, according to a study by ASecureLife.com using FBI data from annual reports. Oakland topped the rankings with 7.08 thefts per 1,000. The national average is two cars stolen per 1,000 people.

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said at the time that one reason for the high rate in Kent was that car thieves know the penalties aren’t very stiff in King County.

“One of the more frustrating factors is that the penalties for vehicle theft in King County are extremely low,” Padilla said in a 2018 Kent Reporter article about the high rate. “In the last two years our arrests of vehicle thieves has been some of the highest we have seen in our history, yet criminals arrested and charged with multiple arrests are released within a matter of days. There is very little deterrent in terms of penalties.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, car thieves are among those who might not serve any time in an effort to keep jail populations lower to help avoid a outbreak among inmates. Vehicle theft is considered a nonviolent crime. The city of Kent has reduced its jail population by arresting people but not booking for certain crimes.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

Carpenters union members peacefully strike on Sept. 16 in downtown Bellevue (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike on pause after “illegal picketing activity”

Union spokesperson claims wildcat protestors harrassed and threatened violence.

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Photos from Emma Artz Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/emma__artz/?hl=en
Juanita HS student is one of the best downhill mountain bike racers in the world

Emma Artz represented the US in one of the most difficult bike races, placing in top-15.

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Screenshot taken from Rosa Parks Elementary School website.
Eastside school wins National Blue Ribbon honor

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Redmond is the only Washington school to win.

Screenshot taken of a King County video showing Wilburton Trestle
King County’s Eastside to receive major multi-modal transportation investment

Private and public investors will help build a regional biking and walking trail to mitigate traffic

Most Read