Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Electronically Shared Court Data Used to Crackdown on Scrap Metal Thieves

Ohio scrap metal dealers are getting an improved way to combat illegal metal theft thanks to the data-sharing capabilities of the Ohio Courts Network (OCN).

The Supreme Court of Ohio announced today it has entered into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) to implement a “Do Not Buy from Convicted Thieves” repository using information related to theft convictions gathered from the OCN.

As a deterrent to metal theft, Ohio lawmakers in 2008 established a requirement that scrap dealers register with the (ODPS) and for ODPS to deploy a system for scrap dealers to record daily transactions. Scrap dealers are prohibited from buying metal from known thieves and must check a prospective seller against the ODPS Do Not Buy database before buying a load of scrap metal.

The OCN is currently providing the department with more than 270,000 theft convictions from 196 courts. This has aided the ODPS efforts to build the Do No Buy repository without requiring additional tasks from the courts participating in the OCN. ODPS is working with local law enforcement and courts to include data not provided by the OCN.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said adding the “do not buy” capability fits the OCN’s purpose.

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

To retrieve the data, the OCN and ODPS Division of Homeland Security developed specific data requirements based on information already being collected by the OCN. On a weekly basis, the OCN creates a file of theft convictions from the case data sent from the participating courts.  ODPS retrieves the file and updates the Do Not Buy repository with the latest OCN information. Any new cases added to the OCN or updates to existing cases will be reflected the following week.

More than 4,000 users within Ohio’s courts and criminal justice system are researching and sharing critical information on a daily basis through the OCN.

The OCN was launched in 2008 and now users can search various records, including court cases, jail bookings, protection orders, Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving records, Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrests, and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction prison and supervision records.

The OCN data warehouse contains more than 46 million case records and receives daily case-record updates from more than 300 courts, representing 86 percent of the annual case volume in the state.