In the first two months of 2021, Chicago has already reported more than 350 carjackings.
The city’s police department reported there have been 352 carjacking from Jan. 1 through March 2.
It’s a startling statistic in just 61 days so far.
Near the end of January, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said that there had already been 144 carjackings in the first month of the year. In 2020, 1,417 carjackings were reported, more than doubling the number seen in 2019.
On Feb. 1, police said the city was on pace to see 1,800 carjackings this year.
In the most recent incident, video captured a brazen armed carjacking over the weekend that took place in broad daylight on a heavily-trafficked West Town street as a couple waited in line to get a carwash.
On Wednesday, a ride-share driver was shot by his passenger in an attempted carjacking in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
And it’s not just a city problem.
The FBI and the Chicago Police Department on Friday were searching for a Dodge Durango that was believed to have been involved in a number of carjackings and thefts in the Chicago area, authorities said.
Though some arrests have been made, in early February, officials reported the percentage of arrests made in connection with carjackings in Cook County had fallen to 11% for the year so far, marking a third consecutive year of declines in the arrest rate for such incidents.
In 2020, authorities made 178 arrests in connection with 1,417 carjackings, which comes out to 13%. That was a steep drop from the year before, when there were far fewer carjackings but a higher proportion that saw arrests. In 2019, there were 603 carjacking incidents and 122 arrests, about 20% of cases.
Eric Carter, first deputy superintendent with CPD, said the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new level of difficulty to apprehending suspects.
“It is very, very difficult for victims of carjackings to identify people right now due to everybody’s wearing a mask due to COVID,” he said.
Carter added that the majority of suspects officers encounter are 15 to 20 years old, with some being as young as 12 years old.
On Jan. 21, CPD added 40 officers and four sergeants to carjacking task forces citywide, which put a dedicated carjacking team in each of the city’s five detective areas, officials said. Additionally, the department is 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.”