In just the first three months of 2021 Chicago has experienced 24 percent of 2020’s 1,417 vehicular hijackings. Data pulled from the Chicago City Data Portal reports 336 total vehicular carjackings through Feb. 27th this year.
In just January alone, the city witnessed a 183 percent increase, CPD reported 218 carjackings, in comparison to last year’s 77. On Feb. 1st, police stated that Chicago was on pace to see 1,800 carjackings this year.
Chicago is not the only city in America to witness a spike in carjackings this year, it seems to be a trend across all metropolitan areas. Minneapolis police report carjackings have increased 537 percent this year, and carjacking calls to 911 in New Orleans are up 126 percent. Majority of the suspects officers encounter are 15 to 20 years old, some being as young as 12 years old.
Criminal experts say the country might be experiencing heightened reports of carjackings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Explaining that it has normalized mask-wearing, making theft easier, criminals seem to be taking advantage of the mask-wearing anonymity.
A more recent hijacking in Chicago was caught on surveillance on March 3rd. Video shows two armed suspects as they approached a couple waiting in line to get a car wash. The incident occurred in the Northwest neighborhood of West Town in broad daylight around noon.
The city, however, is showing some progress, it was reported Feb. 18th that Chicago Police had made 210 arrests in the first 50 days of the year for car-related crimes, such as vehicular hijacking, criminal possession of a stolen vehicle and criminal trespass.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says it’s a priority for the city to hold these criminals accountable, that means filing charges against those who commit crimes. Equally important she says, is addressing the root problem of the behavior to keep these young individuals out of the criminal justice system long-term.
The city is now working with federal, state and county partners as well as youth outreach workers and community members to “find solutions to the root cause of the problem.”
The map below shows all carjackings in the City of Chicago though Feb. 27th, 2021. A reported 336 related vehicular hijacking criminal assaults in total.