Ohio data sharing effort combats scrap metal theft


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The Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Department of Public Safety are teaming together to use data to address an usual kind of crime: the theft of scrap metal within the state.

The agreement between the Court and the department, signed in December, will create a ‘Do Not Buy from Convicted Thieves’ repository that lists people who have been convicted of illegal metal theft. In 2008, the state passed a law prohibiting scrap metal dealers from buying metal from known thieves — a task that was previously difficult due to the inability to discern who may or may not have been convicted of a metal theft crime.

Data is pulled from the already-existing Ohio Courts Network — an online portal for court documents in the state. The new arrangement, however, makes the more than 270,000 theft convictions accessible without any additional work on the side of the OCN’s participating courts.

“We developed the OCN to cast a wide net of current and accurate case-related data to benefit courts and our justice system partners,” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said. “This new development only makes the data-sharing more effective and comprehensive.”

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