Mar 1, 2022 - News

Carjackings down from last year but still above pre-pandemic levels

Chicago daily carjackings
Data: Chicago Police Department. Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

A woman was carjacked by gunpoint Sunday night in Lincoln Park. Police now have a 16-year-old suspect in custody.

Why it matters: The latest carjacking is another example of a crime that has taken center stage in Chicago violence.

  • According to police, year-over-year carjackings are down in Jan.-Feb. 2022 compared to the same two-month stretch in 2021, but are still way higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

Context: Some police commanders have blamed everything from gangs to joyriding to masks for the surge.

  • Mayor Lightfoot suggested that remote schooling leads kids to crimes like carjackings.
  • This theory was roundly rejected by critics, including the CTU, whose officials called it "scapegoating and smear tactics."

Fact check: Lightfoot is right that carjackings skyrocketed at the beginning of the pandemic while kids were remote in 2020, but there was also a record number of carjackings in 2021 after kids were back at school in person.

What they're saying: "Our work combating carjackings in Chicago has been an all-in effort," Supt. David Brown said at a February 16 press conference. "We've seen a 20% decrease in carjackings, 2022 versus 2021. We've made 182 arrests for carjacking since the beginning of the year."

  • These results are from the anti-carjacking task force set up in January.

Yes, but: Crime may be down, but so are arrest percentages.

Bottom line: The police have added more resources to the task force, including expanded hours.

  • They've also deployed a social media campaign to help prevent carjackings and give information on what to do if it happens to you.

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