With gun violence bringing unflattering national attention to Chicago, carjackings have quietly gone off the charts as well. While shootings and homicides are largely concentrated in impoverished pockets of the South and West sides, carjackings are occurring throughout the city, the Chicago Tribune reports. Last year, Chicago recorded 663 carjackings, nearly double the 339 in 2015 and the most since 2009. The numbers have shot up even further so far this year. Through Oct. 18, carjackings have totaled 661, nearly equal to all of 2016 and a 44 percent spike from the same period a year ago. Carjackings started to spike last year, when homicides and shootings skyrocketed while crimes in virtually every other category rose. Some officers believe the furor over the video showing police shoot teen Laquan McDonald 16 times led to many officers reducing their aggressiveness on the street, emboldening criminals.
The Harrison police district on the West Side, historically among the city’s most violent areas, leads the city in carjackings with 82 so far this year, up from 69 a year earlier, according to a Tribune analysis of police data. Carjackings have risen as well downtown and in trendy neighborhoods. The carjackings can quickly turn deadly. Jesus Angel De La O Jimenez was fatally shot by a gunman who police said tried to carjack him as he dropped off a friend in his Infiniti car early in the morning Aug. 10.