The percentage of arrests made in connection with carjackings in Cook County has fallen to 11% so far in 2021, the State's Attorney's office says, marking a third consecutive year of declines in the arrest rate for such incidents.
The Cook County State's Attorney's office detailed the figures in a virtual seminar on carjackings on Wednesday. The data presented shows that there have been 18 arrests out of 166 vehicular hijacking incidents in 2021 thus far, which is roughly 11%.
In 2020, authorities made 178 arrests in connection with 1,417 carjackings, which comes out to 13%. That was a steep drop from the year before, when there were far fewer carjackings but a higher proportion that saw arrests. In 2019, there were 603 carjacking incidents and 122 arrests, about 20% of cases.
In 2018, Cook County saw 764 carjackings with 191 arrests for a rate of 25%. That percentage was up from 2017, when 15% of the 937 carjackings saw arrests, and 2016, when 136 arrests were made in connection with 663 incidents for a rate of 21%.
The State's Attorney's office released those figures as the Chicago area continues to grapple with a significant uptick in carjackings. Carjackings in 2020 doubled in Chicago compared to the previous year, police have previously said - a point confirmed by the State's Attorney's data.
Late last month, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced steps the department was taking to address the recent spike in carjackings.
Brown and Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the department will add more detectives to find the individuals committing the citywide carjackings and bring them to the Cook County state's attorney's office for prosecution.
Brown said, on average, the city's carjacking crimes are committed by individuals between the ages of 15 and 20, with one offender as young as 12. He called on others working with the city's young people to contribute to the effort, saying it takes more than simply law enforcement to curb the problem.
"Law enforcement cannot do this alone. We need everyone -- teachers, mentors coaches parents, the faith community and others -- to help us," Brown said.
Deenihan said that the additional resources CPD has added in 2021 will allow for a carjacking-specific team to operate in each detective division area citywide. He said the department must work with neighborhoods personally to solve the issue.
"We need to work directly with the young people to provide opportunities and dissuade them from contributing to this problem," Deenihan said.
CPD has provided tips on the best practices to avoid becoming a carjacking victim in Chicago. Brown said the groups of carjackers tend to travel in pairs or fours, and are typically canvassing individuals for an opportunity to arise.
"One of the tips that we try to give victims is to be aware of your surroundings," Brown said. "Try as much as possible when you are going from a store, from your car and back to your car to look around to see if you see any suspicious activity. If you see something suspicious, this is where you got to call 911 and say there was a suspicious car behind my car, instead of walking up and having an armed confrontation."
Brown noted that some carjackings have made their way to Chicago suburbs, so CPD is making the effort to reduce the crimes a regional collaboration.