Cook County’s auto thefts are picking up again and are well on the way to becoming the worst in two decades.
According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, car thefts across the county this year are up 44% year over year.
A task force including the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police and federal agencies are working together to stop the surge by sharing data related to car theft. The aim is to track trends across the county that are helping law enforcement agencies stop car thieves. The task force will also use helicopters to prevent dangerous car chases.
“[Carjackings] are awful, “said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. “It happens all over the country – whether you are talking about Minneapolis, [their carjackings] rose to 500% and New York rose to 80%. It’s difficult for all departments, but the idea was that we need to collect the data and analyze who is doing this first [carjacking], where [carjackings] occur more often and then develop strategies “
Dart said several factors contributed to the rise in carjackings this year.
“More than half of the carjackings are committed by young people,” said Dart. “And during COVID-19 there were so many of the after-school programs and schools [closed]. There were fewer [activities] to do for kids. That was part of it, but there were other dynamics that came into play, ”said Dart. “[before the pandemic] If you had a masked person approach you, you knew trouble was afoot. Now everyone has a mask on. When it comes to trying to arrest and prosecute people, it is much more difficult to identify them [suspects] because the norm is that everyone wears masks. “
Among some of the database’s results, the most heavily targeted cars were the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. There were further carjackings on Tuesdays. And two-thirds of the victims were male.
Dart said that to prevent a car crime, one should be careful about those around them but not be reckless with their safety.
“You can always get your property back, but you cannot save your life. struggle [carjackers] off is not a good idea. Give the people your car, “said Dart.