Carjackings rise in Chicago as juveniles target high-end vehicles
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Whether it’s a Bears wide receiver’s Maserati or the 2006 BMW heisted in an incident that led to a man being shot early Tuesday, carjackings are making headlines around downtown Chicago and on the West and North sides.
And city crime statistics show their numbers have been on the rise: Vehicular hijackings in Chicago nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016 and are occurring with the same frequency this year.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the uptick “appears to be a pattern between Area Central and Area North involving juveniles and targeting higher-end vehicles.”
To combat the hijackings, he said, police have “added a specialized robbery mission team in these areas,” and, in recent weeks, a juvenile suspect has been identified.
“These carjackings are primarily crimes of opportunity,” Guglielmi said.
In 2012, 487 vehicular hijackings were reported across the city.
Over the next three years, that number fell to between 300 and 350.
Then, in 2016, the total shot up to 661, records show.
With 270 carjackings reported through early May, Chicago is keeping pace with last year. Of those incidents, 158 – or 58 percent — involved a weapon.
Records show that, between 2012 and 2016, weapons were used in 56 to 64 percent of all carjackings.
Early Tuesday, a carjacking in the South Loop led to a man being shot, according to police.
At 1:39 a.m., three males exited a Jeep Cherokee in the 2200 block of South Wabash and, while two of the suspects stole a gray 2006 BMW, the third suspect tried to rob a 27-year-old man walking down the street nearby, according to police.
The 27-year-old tried to run away from the suspect, but was shot in the back, police said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.
Last week, the girlfriend of Bears wide receiver Kevin White was carjacked as she was driving his Maserati in the 400 block of North May in West Town.
Chicago Police issued a community alert after seven carjackings, all on April 28, were reported in several North Side neighborhoods. Ten carjacking-related community alerts have been issued so far this year.
The Harrison District on the West Side has — by a wide margin — seen the most carjackings this year of any of the police department’s 22 districts, data show.
Through May 8, there were 48 reported vehicular hijackings, 32 of which involved a weapon.
The Grand Crossing District on the South Side and the Near West District each have seen 20 vehicular hijackings this year, records show.
Of the 270 carjackings this year, 14 cases have ended in an arrest, records show.