Chicago Teens Are Freed Quickly in Carjacking Cases

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Dozens of juveniles were charged last year in Chicago for allegedly pointing guns at motorists and stealing their cars, but few were detained longer than 24 hours, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Armed carjackings have become a major problem for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Almost every part of the city has been plagued by the brazen holdups. There were almost 1,000 of them last year, compared with 663 in 2016. Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who’s considering a run for mayor, criticized Emanuel for failing to take control of the problem. McCarthy said “criminals are getting released immediately after arrest. Many times, they’re not being prosecuted. If there’s no sanction, what the hell?”

More juveniles than adults were arrested for armed carjacking last year. Most charged were later released by judges on electronic monitoring. About 700 juveniles were arrested in Chicago in connection with all types of gun-related crimes during the first seven months of 2017. Those crimes ranged from murder to armed robbery to carjacking to unlawful possession of a firearm. Of those 700 juveniles, 42 percent were arrested again. Of those arrests, half were for offenses involving guns. “Crime has to have consequences,” said Alderman Michele Smith, a former federal prosecutor. “We’re not helping our community and we’re not helping our kids. We’re not even giving them a ‘time out’ for carrying a gun.”  State Sen. Bill Cunningham started looking at the juvenile carjackings problem after a teenager in his district was arrested in the armed robbery of an off-duty Chicago police officer last year. “It became apparent that there may be a revolving door in the juvenile court system, which is rarely holding juvenile offenders — even when they are charged with violent crimes,” he said.


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