Crime Tracker: Stolen car trend expands to Fairport

Crime Tracker

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Cars don’t typically disappear in Fairport but now they are.

Fairport Police Chief Sam Farina said village police have investigated five incidents of stolen cars in 2021 when typically they don’t have any. It’s a trend, he said, that mirrors what is happening regionally. According to Farina, there have been nearly 1,200 stolen cars in Monroe County this year. That’s an increase of 40 percent from 2020.

So why is this happening and why can’t police stem the trend? “Most of our suspects that are involved in this type of activity right now are ages 13-18,” said Farina. He called the present moment a perfect storm. Teenagers are reacting to peer pressure, the desire to achieve social media notoriety and a lack of accountability through criminal justice. The chief cited statewide laws for bail reform and raising the age as factors in the accountability piece. He recalled one exchange with a young suspect which captured the challenge officers are facing. “After the arrest of the offender for stealing the car he was very quick to tell us as we were leaving on the way back to take him home to his parents after doing the arrest – he’s spotting other cars on the way back home saying – I might be back for that one because I like that car too.”

That mindset makes it hard to deter would-be criminals, even as young as 12 or 13 years of age.

Farina said thieves are breaking into houses to find car keys. Lock your doors. Illuminate areas surrounding your home. Do not leave your key or other valuables in your car. Police will enforce the law, but Farina said – as a community – we cannot arrest our way out of this trend. “This is not a law enforcement issue. It goes well beyond that. It’s a societal issue. We need families, parents, and guardians to be more interested and active in the lives of our teens.”

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