CHICAGO — Police unveiled a website Wednesday and added more officers to a citywide task force in hopes it can help them combat the carjacking epidemic in Chicago.
The website allows the public to submit tips in carjacking cases, including video, photos and other potential evidence to help investigators. The site has information on what to do if you are carjacked in English, Polish, Spanish and Chinese.
The release comes amid a surge in carjackings: As of Wednesday, there have been 368 carjackings in Chicago in 2021 — more than double the amount over the same time last year, which was also more than double the number of carjackings from the year prior.
Supt. David Brown said 40 more officers, including Illinois State Police troopers and Cook County Sheriff’s Office officers, were recently added to the citywide carjacking task force.
Brown said nearly half of the people arrested for carjackings, stolen cars and other related crimes have been underage people who steal the cars for three main reasons.
“One is to sell the parts for profit. You steal the car and sell the parts for profit … . No. 2, to commit other crimes,” Brown said. “The No. 1 reason we found is joyriding. It’s a shame that you’ll hold a gun to someone’s head just to joyride, but that seems to be what our young people are doing.”
Brown said he is working with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to see what, if anything, can be done to make the consequences tougher for juvenile offenders. But he said part of the problem is the court system is mostly closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Police districts, neighbors and aldermen have tried numerous strategies to stop the carjackings, including installing cameras with license-plate reading technology on Lake Shore Drive and near the Kennedy Expressway, where police say thieves often drive when fleeing.
In Englewood, neighbors formed watch groups at local gas stations where carjackings frequently occurred. Frightened neighbors have turned to buying guns to defend themselves.
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