Stepped-up enforcement in response to a rash of carjackings citywide at the start of the year has resulted in a sharp increase in arrests, according to Chicago police.
There were 126 carjackings and 42 arrests made between New Year’s Day and Feb. 20, when the department announced beefed-up enforcement.
Since then, there have been 39 carjackings and 21 arrests related crimes through March 11, including vehicular hijacking, possession of a stolen vehicle, unlawful use of a weapon and criminal trespassing, CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said Thursday.
That’s double the number of arrests made compared to the same 20-day time period in 2019, Deenihan said.
The department last month set up a unit dedicated to investigating carjackings in partnership with Illinois State Police and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office as such crime spiked across the city and suburbs.
The city says it has also “increased the strategic use” of license plate readers on Lake Shore Drive and downtown to match plates with vehicles reported stolen.
Deenihan said he expects the additional CPD resources to focus on carjackings through the summer, as overall crime generally spikes with more people out and about in warmer weather.
“We’ll keep these teams pressing forward until further notice until these things really go down,” Deenihan said.
One easy way to avoid losing your car? Don’t leave doors unlocked or key fobs inside, Deenihan said. But violent carjackings at gunpoint have been reported across the city.
“It’s extremely traumatic for the victims,” Deenihan said. “Some of these victims, they don’t want to park their cars in their garage anymore. It just changes the way of their daily life. So it’s important we take these guys off the street.”