Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) on Monday tied the city’s wave of carjackings to school shutdowns in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
During a news conference, Lightfoot said young people were mostly to blame for the rising crime that she argued stirred “pervasive fear” in Chicagoans, NBC Chicago reported.
“We started seeing this rise in cases in 2020, and I’ll be frank and say in Chicago, there was a correlation that we believe between remote learning and the rise in carjacking,” she said. She explained her viewpoint:
Having talked to states attorneys who are dealing with these cases in juvenile court and others, a lot of parents went to work during the day thinking their teenagers were logged on for remote learning only to find something else. And I ask, ‘is there some new market for stolen cars?’ and unfortunately, the answer was no, that for many of these kids, some of whom had no prior involvement in the criminal justice system this was pure boredom.
But we’re way past that point now, and we’ve got to bend the curve on this issue. This is why we’ve been driving so hard with criminal courts, not to just process a case and then turn these young people back out into the community. We’ve gotta do something to prick their consciences.
Meanwhile, Chicago police said the department was expanding its carjacking task force because the worry of having a car stolen at gunpoint had grown into a major issue for drivers.
“The taskforce uses technology at the 911 call center, including a growing network of POD cameras and license plate readers, to identify and track vehicles taken and used in carjackings. Then police arrest people they say are executing the often violent crimes,” ABC 7 reported.
There have been 162 carjackings from the beginning of the year to January 30, “down almost 25% from 215 in 2021,” the NBC article read. “Before the pandemic was in full swing in 2020, the city had seen 72 — up from 48 in 2019.”
Meanwhile, at least 22 individuals were shot, three fatally, over the weekend in Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago.