Jan 4, 2024 - News

Carjackings in D.C. nearly doubled in 2023

Data: Metropolitan Police Department. Chart: Axios Visuals

D.C. carjackings rose for the sixth straight year in 2023 to 959 reported incidents.

Why it matters: The jarring and once-rare crime has nearly doubled over the last year, terrifying victims and leading to many arrests of juvenile suspects.

Driving the news: Federal prosecutors charged 10 teenagers in December in a crackdown on alleged armed carjacking rings in D.C. and Maryland.

  • Five defendants were juveniles at the time of the crimes, prosecutors said.

What they're saying: "The overwhelming majority arrested for carjacking are juveniles and many of the adults are themselves teenagers," said U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves.

  • "To the teenagers fueling these crimes, know that there is no such thing as a 'free ride.' Masks will not protect you. We will track you down and aggressively pursue the charges that fit the crime."

In early December, a 17-year-old was arrested after an off-duty FBI agent was carjacked while using his bureau-issued vehicle.

  • A police affidavit said a young man pointed a handgun at the agent who found herself on the ground following a tussle for the vehicle's keys, the Washington Post reported. It occurred midafternoon near Lincoln Park in Northeast.

The big picture: Violent crime increased 39% in 2023 in the nation's capital.

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser has a pending proposal to target open-air drug markets and retail theft that has led to bare shelves at some convenience stores.

What we're watching: D.C. plans a 24/7 "real-time crime center" to monitor surveillance cameras and respond to crime reports more quickly.

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