Dec 2, 2022 - News

Carjackings falling in Chicago from pandemic peaks

Data: Chicago Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Chicago Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

Reports of local carjackings fell dramatically from November 2021 to November 2022 and in recent months, according to city data.

Why it matters: These high-profile crimes skyrocketed locally and nationwide during the pandemic. Their decreasing numbers may finally signal some success for prevention efforts.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 23, carjackings last month checked in at fewer than half of what they were in Nov. 2021.

  • Reports of the crime have dropped more than 30% since August.

Yes, but: We're measuring these improvements against some of Chicago's worst carjacking numbers ever.

  • This year's "improving" numbers are still three times higher than they were a decade ago.

What they're saying: Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart credits the "tireless" work of the Vehicular Hijacking Taskforce for the drop in carjackings countywide but says the 1,600-plus so far this year are still too many.

  • Dart applauds the County Board for recently approving $11.4 million for a new helicopter that he says will significantly increase the department's ability to recover stolen vehicles "while reducing the risk of potential harm to the public."

Yes, but: CPD spokesman Tom Ahern says recent months have brought a "significant" rise in regular auto theft "as people leave their keys in the vehicle, leave it running, or have vehicles that are easily accessible.

"State of play: This week the task force arrested and charged three teens with multiple carjackings on the South Side.

Of note: Dart launched a program this fall aimed at reducing carjackings by placing stickers indicating tracking ability on cars.

  • His office tells Axios nearly 6,000 vehicle owners have signed up so far.

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