If it seems like we’ve been running a lot of carjacking stories lately, there’s a very good reason. We have been. Because there have been a lot of carjackings.
Yesterday evening, a North Center woman became the latest person to be targeted by armed hijackers as she unloaded groceries at home.
Chicago police department records show the local Town Hall (19th) Police District recorded 32 carjackings this year through November 15. There have been at least five more since then — making 2020 the worst for carjackings in the district, which patrols Lakeview, North Center, much of Uptown and Lincoln Square, and the north end of Lincoln Park. And 2020 still has five weeks to go.
The department’s Shakespeare (14th) District, which patrols areas like Wicker Park and Bucktown, is also experiencing record-high carjacking reports, records show.
In North Center on Tuesday evening, two masked offenders pointed a gun at a woman and demanded her purse and car keys as she unloaded groceries outside her home in the 3700 block of North Hoyne around 5:08 p.m., said CPD spokesperson Karie James. They then pushed the 52-year-old woman to the ground and sped away southbound in her gray 2017 Jeep Renegade, James said.
The robbers were described as two men in their early 20’s who wore black hoodies and masks. They are still on the loose. Area Three detectives are investigating.
She’s at least the fifth person to be carjacked in the Town Hall district this week.
Official CPD records, which are embargoed for a week before being made public, show there were 32 carjackings in Town Hall through November 15 — four times the number seen last year
Shakespeare District cases
Vehicular hijackings in the 14th District are on-pace with 2017, the area’s worst year for carjackings, according to city records.
There have been at least four more carjackings in the district since public records were last updated:
- Sunday afternoon, two men tried to carjack a woman at North and Ashland. She crashed into a pole when she tried to speed away from the offenders.
- Three carjackings were reported in under 30 minutes Saturday evening across Wicker Park and Bucktown.
- A man was shot behind his Bucktown home early Tuesday by offenders who got into his Porsche, but then got back out and ran away. The motive for the shooting has not been made public, but attempted robbery is considered a possible factor.
Tuesday evening, WGN reported on the citywide carjacking surge — cases are up 124% compared to last year.
A police spokesperson told reporter Ben Bradley that the department thinks cases may be increasing because more people are wearing masks due to COVID-19. They also pointed to the fact that CPD does not pursue carjackers in most cases due to the department’s no-chase policy.
Within CPD, many officers point to another reason for soaring carjackings and street robberies: Their district’s tactical units, the teams that are designed to focus on violent crime patterns, are being assigned to sit on downtown street corners to scare away looters rather than focusing on problems in their home districts.