Following a surge last year, Chicago has seen more than 160 carjackings so far in 2021.
The Chicago Police Department says it’s taking a more comprehensive approach to deal with that spike, like adding detective staff and expanding the citywide carjacking task force.
“We’re working with prosecutors to coordinate our resources to build stronger cases, utilizing special prosecution,” said Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott. “We want to work with all of our partners on the prosecution side including the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, our judges, the juvenile court system and our federal partners.”
Some community members are also working to stop the trend, forming watch groups at gas stations.
Steve DeJoie put together a watchdog effort in Hyde Park. On Saturday, volunteers gathered at a gas station at Lake Park Avenue and 52nd Street, aiming to protect people who were filling up their tanks or going inside the store. He said they plan to return this Saturday.
“What we’re doing is not apprehending or investigating,” DeJoie said. “What we’re there to do is observe, intervene and perhaps safely report. Basically create a presence and community awareness around carjackings.”
“Residents are concerned and they have every right to be,” said Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward). “What’s concerning is that some of them have been harmed.”
Taliaferro said the police department will not be able to solve the problem by themselves. What’s needed, he said, is a collaborative effort between the judicial system, state’s attorney and community members.