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Carjackings on the Rise in Post-Pandemic America

Over the past two years, the number of carjackings in Chicago and across the country has conspicuously risen. Whether the matter is indirectly related to the pandemic, concerns about overcrowded prison cells, or something else entirely is a matter of intense debate. Another matter under debate is the problem that a number of the individuals committing the carjackings appear to be juveniles. 

In one case, a victim describes detailing a client’s car when a young man approached him from behind and stuck the barrel of a gun in his back, demanding the keys. The man handed the keys over to the teen who then proceeded to strike him in the bridge of the nose before stealing the car. The car had an anti-theft system and was easily disabled remotely. It was then found abandoned hours later. 

With anti-theft systems making carjackings more or less purposeless, one would imagine that carjacking would decrease. Yet that has not been the case. Why not? Well, the payoff, in fact, may not be the car at all, but the actual jacking.

It is a Game

One of the ways to get cred in your crew is to commit a crime. This has the dual purpose of showing that you are committed to the gang and giving other members something to leverage over you if you decide to turn rat. Hence why committing some form of violent crime is used as a gang initiation ritual.

One thing that your typical normal human does not consider, however, is that it is actually “fun” for some people to commit these sorts of crimes. Much like serial killers who become addicted to the act and ritual of murder, young kids are just as prone to dopamine rushes as those on the fringes of society. Jacking someone’s car and then driving it off is a rush. Sure, the anti-theft system will render the car useless, but it is still a rush to commit the crime. If not entirely addictive, it does produce a lot of brain chemicals associated with vitality and power.

Most major cities across the country are reporting a surge of carjackings this year. Philadelphia reported nearly four times as many carjackings from 2019 to 2021 while other cities like New Orleans reported that they have already hit two-thirds of the yearly average in March. Chicago has shown a similar uptick in carjackings. 

Meanwhile, the ages of the perpetrators are as low as 11 and 12 and many of them could not be prosecuted as adults. This leaves many wondering if the gangs are sending out children to perform carjackings for gang-related purposes. Even if they do not come away with the car itself, it distracts police, diverts their attention, and makes it easier to perform other crimes when their attention is diverted. Meanwhile, carjacking remains frustratingly difficult for police to prosecute.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing serious criminal charges in Chicago, the criminal defense attorneys at David Freidberg can help you resolve the matter, get the charges dismissed, or help negotiate a resolution that you can live with. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can help.

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