Chicago Police Use Special Task Force to Crack Down on Spike in Carjackings Across City

The task force re-convened in late February, and has made at least 15 arrests thus far

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After a surge in the number of carjackings in Chicago, police have re-launched a dedicated task force aimed at stemming the tide and ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice.

The task force, which had previously been put together in 2018, was re-launched on Feb. 21 as the city sees a massive spike in car thefts. According to officials, carjackings have spiked by at least 75 percent in the first months of 2020, and the task force represents the Chicago police department’s response to the surge in crime.

The task force’s tools were used to full effect after a carjacking on Sunday night. According to police, a man was near his car in the 300 block of North Loomis when two men walked up to him and demanded his car keys and his personal possessions.

The man cooperated, leaving his cell phone in the vehicle. The thieves then drove away from the scene, and the police task force was able to ping the cell phone, locating the vehicle.

“Our officers were able to ping the cell phone, and they were able to capture the offenders in the 5400 block of West Rice, and that was because officers set up surveillance,” CPD Officer Michelle Tannehill said.

The arrests are two of 15 that the task force has been credited with in recent weeks.

The group has a wide array of tools at its disposal, combining additional personnel, helicopters and unmarked cars. The group is also working with county and federal prosecutors to more quickly bring charges that can help keep alleged offenders in prison.

As police look to get a handle on the spike in carjackings, officials have recommendations for residents looking to keep themselves safe.

“Before you get in your vehicle, know your destination,” Tannehill said. “Sometimes we get in our vehicles and are looking down at our phones because we are looking at GPS. When you are exiting a building and getting into your vehicle, know the first turn you are going to take.”

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