There were nearly 1,000 carjackings in 2017, compared with fewer than 700 last year. Some of the vehicles stolen were later used in drive-by shootings, smash-and-grab burglaries and other crimes.
Carjackings in Chicago surged to their highest number in at least 10 years, a trend that the Chicago Tribune reports has unnerved residents and visitors alike. While much of the city’s attention was focused on the rise in shootings and homicides over the past two years, carjackings spiked in 2016, as numbers in other crime categories also rose. In 2017, carjackings rose even higher, hitting their largest tally in at least a decade, with 967 carjackings through Wednesday. The city had 682 carjackings for all of 2016, more than double the tallies from each of the two previous years.
While higher-profile violence such as shootings and homicides have been concentrated on the South and West sides, carjackers have struck throughout the city, including often in trendy neighborhoods and downtown. Victims included the son of former TV news anchor Robin Robinson and a Tribune reporter who was carjacked in a parking lot down the block from a police station. In these crimes, criminals use force to rob victims — often at gun or knifepoint — of their vehicles. Sometimes these vehicles are then used in drive-by shootings, smash-and-grab burglaries and other crimes. One method that criminals have adopted to commit these crimes is known as the “bump-and-run” — when suspects driving in one car intentionally bump into another. When that motorist gets out and checks the damage, the suspects use force, often threatening the victim with a weapon, before jumping in and stealing the car. “When you come out of the house now, you don’t just walk out the door,” said one victim. “You’re looking (across) stairs and around banisters and in trees, I mean, you’re like looking everywhere.”