Chicago – a city of music, cuisine, sports teams, and crime.
In the city of Chicago, we are well acquainted with the high crime rate that the city produces. For many citizens, they go on with their day to day activities not thinking of the daily crimes that are happening around them. According to the Chicago Tribune, the number of carjackings have surged to their highest numbers in the last 10 years. These statistics are shattering to both citizens and visitors. In the article published in December 2017, they totaled to 967 carjackings – a number that the Chicago Police Department continues to keep on their radar.
Another issue with the carjackings reported by the Chicago Sun Times states that for the juveniles charged with armed carjackings, most are released within 24 hours. The lack of retribution leads to more and more incidents like these within the city. Again, the statistics are shown that since 2016 the brazen holdups have been on the rise. This has been a topic of discussion for both Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and former Chicago police Sgt. Garry McCarthy. In a quote taken from the Sun Times article on February 11, McCarthy criticizes the justice systems stating, “criminals are getting released immediately after arrest. Many times, they’re not being prosecuted. If there’s no sanction, what the hell?”
Is McCarthy far off? What is supposed to be done with the juveniles who are repeatedly committing these crimes against the citizens of Chicago? The reputation of the city is already at stake with the high crime rates.
In the report, 700 juveniles arrested for an array of crimes including carjacking, armed robbery, and murder, 42 percent of those were arrested again when released.
The carjackings rates in Chicago are being recognized nation-wide as the Wall Street Journal reports on the crime rates. They report that although violent crimes have seemed to drop in recent months, carjackings continue to be a consistent number. They attribute a large percentage of these carjackings to repeat offenders. The brazen attacks, that was even reported to happen to an off-duty police officer last month, continue to be a concern for the citizens of both affluent and lower income areas around Chicago.
So, what should we as citizens do as a precaution? Well, ABC News gave a list of 5 ways to prevent a carjacking attempt.
- Give the thieves what they want – nothing is worth getting injured over, if a thief approaches you just give them what they want.
- Beware of tricks – bumper taps and $20 on the windshield – one of the most common tricks seen is $20 under the windshield wipers. The driver gets into the car, sees the money, gets out with the door open and the thief will come and slip in the car and drive off. These simple tricks are the bait that they thrive off of.
- Back into parking spaces and park close to garage exits – ABC says a quarter of all carjackings take place within car garages or parking lots. Be on the lookout and aware of your surroundings.
- Phone = Target on your back – Being on your phone will in the car makes you a target because not only is that something of value, but you’re also distracted. Carjackers are looking for victims who are completely unaware of their surroundings/what is about to take place.
- Keep the car in Drive – when at the ATM, keep your vehicle in drive. If someone approaches you are able to press the gas straight away without having to switch back into gear.
It’s important to realize that if this happens to you, make sure you prioritize what really is important: you. Try not to make yourself as noticeable. Reasons for carjacking are oftentimes associated with wanting to escape a crime scene or to steal valuables according to this website, but by taking into account these tips we can try to lower the rate at which they are successful.
This doesn’t mean that your life in the city has to be turned into a 24/7 security session, but it should make you more aware of your surroundings. As Chicagoans, our best hope of combatting these carjackers is to work together. Look out for one another and be responsible. As the crime rates increase, our togetherness and lifestyle should evolve for the ever-changing city that we live in.