Independence police increase patrols after carjacking

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (WJW)– The mayor of the city of Independence put out a warning about violent crime after a resident was carjacked leaving a restaurant earlier this week.

“The victim was not injured thankfully, but the robber got away with the man’s car and cell phone,” Mayor Gregory Kurtz said in a recording sent to residents. “Residents are upset, so am I. In the last few months, thieves have targeted convenience stores and gas stations, stolen unlocked cars from residential neighborhoods and now the brazen armed robbery of a citizen.”

Police Chief Mike Kilbane told the I-Team Tuesday that he and the mayor want to make sure residents and business owners are fully informed of what is happening in the city.

“It’s not just Independence,” Kilbane said. “We have seen an increase in a lot of criminal activity all over the region. We are very much approaching it on a regional level. “

The chief said because of the recent carjacking and the uptick in thefts from vehicles, he is increasing patrols in the residential and business areas .

“We use our intelligence and our crime data, to map when and where these crimes are more likely to occur,” Kilbane added. 

He said many area businesses are also hiring off-duty officers to provide added security.

“It’s also a good reminder to everyone, to be aware of your surroundings. If you can, walk in groups,” the chief said. “Those looking to rob, or steal are looking for some place quiet and secluded to commit these crimes. So if  you take that away from them, you are a lot less likely to be a victim.”

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