Chicago’s top cop stats show fewer carjackings, but arrests are also down: Data – NBC Chicago
For the second week in a row, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown held a press conference with suburban police chiefs to tout the success of a regional carjacking task force.
Brown said carjackings are down 20% in the first two months of the year, but the data also shows the rate of arrests is also down. And carjackings are still more than three times higher than before the pandemic began.
Brown said three more suburban departments joined the list of 21 agencies last week sharing carjacking data in the Chicago area: Forest Park, Oak Park and Berkeley.
Brown said the CPD conducted its 21st task force mission Tuesday night, an effort involving about 100 officers.
“Our joint missions are doing what they’re supposed to do,” Brown said. “But the prevalence of vehicle hijackings in our community needs our full attention. We want every resident to know that we are fully committed to visibility, engagement and this excellent collaboration.
Last week, Brown announced that the task force operate 24 hours a daybut the press conference was overshadowed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot linking the spike in carjackings to the closure of schools at the start of the pandemic.
Carjackings in Chicago fell from this time last year, from 324 to 262 through Feb. 14, according to the latest public police data. But carjackings are still higher than in 2020, when there were 133 carjackings over the same period, and about 3.5 times higher than in 2019, when there were 71 during the same period.
Chicago police have made 182 arrests so far this year for crimes related to carjacking, Brown said. Thirty-five arrests were for vehicle hijacking, 51 for possession of a stolen motor vehicle and 96 for criminal trespassing, according to a police spokesperson.
But the police department’s public arrest data shows only 11 people charged with carjackings so far this year, though the data could only include adults charged.
This public data also shows that the rate of carjacking arrests has been declining since 2019. Only 4% of carjackings in Chicago this year through Feb. 8 resulted in an arrest, compared to 6, 2% over the same period in 2021, 7.7% in 2020 and 10.7% in 2019.
Asked about the drop in the arrest rate, Brown once again blamed the courts, which he said were too willing to release minors charged with carjackings.
“We really need to have lively debates about our juvenile courts dealing with recidivism,” Brown said. “That’s one aspect of why we haven’t seen the significant drop.” He said children entering the juvenile justice system need more services and stricter release conditions.
Brown said about half of all people arrested in carjackings were minors and gave some recent examples:
- A 14-year-old boy was arrested hours after he hijacked a man at gunpoint early Monday in the 400 block of West 31st Street in Bridgeport.
- A 15-year-old was charged with hijacking a 62-year-old man at gunpoint on Sunday in the 500 block of West 78th Street. He was arrested hours later in Calumet City.
- A minor was arrested for hijacking someone with a gun on Saturday in the 8600 block of South Wallace. A license plate-reading camera alerted cops to the location of the car and the person was arrested, Brown said.
- A 17-year-old boy was charged with hijacking someone on April 14, 2021 in the 1200 block of North Hoyne. Police took blood from the vehicle and arrested the teenager on Sunday.
The regional carjacking task force was formed last March and includes the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, FBI and suburban police departments.