Police: Carjackings, auto thefts down significantly in Ramsey County

Police: Carjackings, auto thefts down significantly in Ramsey County

Police: Carjackings, auto thefts down significantly in Ramsey County

According to St. Paul Police records, auto thefts dropped 36% in the city compared to this same time a year ago.

Through the first seven months of 2022, there were 961 auto thefts, and there have been 613 through the first seven months of 2023. Carjackings during that same time period also dropped 50% from 40 to 20.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and St. Paul Police Department have focused a lot of time and resources toward combating the carjacking and auto theft increases in previous years. Ramsey County has accepted $2.5 million in grant money to establish Car Auto Theft, or CAT, teams, which started in 2021.

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Deputy Thomas Segelstrom is one of those CAT team members. He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the CAT teams rely on intelligence-gathering and targeting hot spots to make a difference.

“Our main goal is the element of surprise. So we use a lot of intel. Our intel units supplies us with pretty much who’s doing it, where they’re doing it and how they’re doing it,” Segelstrom said. “All the stolen cars involved in shootings and robberies, thefts from autos, carjackings — a lot of it is a core group of juveniles, right?”

Deputy Chief Paul Ford heads the Major Crimes Unit at SPPD. He said his unit has focused on intervention and prevention, especially with juvenile offenders.

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“If we can catch them at a young age and divert them away from criminal activity, that’s a win for us going forward,” said Ford. “So, for example, when juveniles are arrested for auto theft, they’re seeing a judge the next day. So, previously, they would be arrested and released. Now, they’re seeing a judge right away in the morning so they’re engaged in the criminal justice system.”

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said it will use part of this year’s grant money to add another deputy to its CAT team unit. Right now there are a total of eight deputies committed to that particular unit.