Chicago police are investigating three carjackings reported Wednesday in the Loop, Uptown, and Andersonville. They are also looking into a hijacking reported early Tuesday in River West.
The wave of carjackings is part of another surge in hijacking cases. This month’s hijacking rate is outpacing last March by 58%. While the city enjoyed a modest decline in carjacking cases in January, the reduction narrowed in February. As of now, 2022 is on pace with last year’s record-setting rate, according to the city’s data.
In the Loop case, a man wearing a ski mask implied he had a gun and threatened to shoot a man while taking the victim’s Honda CR-V. It happened around 6:20 a.m. behind a hotel on the 100 block of North Garland Court, according to a preliminary CPD report. The incident was captured on video.
Then, around 10:19 a.m., a 24-year-old woman was carjacked as she placed items in her Toyota RAV4 on the 1400 block of West Balmoral in Andersonville, CPD spokesperson Kellie Bartoli said.
The hijacker reportedly pointed a gun at the woman’s head and demanded her keys, which she handed over. He was last seen heading east in the car.
Bartoli said he was described only as a Black male wearing a black hoodie and a black mask.
Most recently, hijackers took a food delivery driver’s car on the 4400 block of North Broadway around 7:15 p.m.
The 41-year-old victim was getting into his silver Pontiac Vibe when at least two offenders pushed him away from the vehicle, Bartoli said. One of the men drove away with the victim’s car while another climbed into a red or burgundy sedan that was nearby, she said. Both vehicles headed north.
Bartoli said the victim was not injured. The suspects are Black males between 20- and 30-years-old who wore hoodies and jeans.
The River West hijacking unfolded on the 700 block of North Milwaukee around 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to a CPD report. A woman told police that a man wearing a ski mask walked up to her car, displayed a handgun, and forced her out of her black Range Rover.
Hijackings on the rise again
CPD recorded 71 hijackings during the first 16 days of March, a 58% increase from last year. There were 27 cases during the first 16 days of March 2020.
Citywide, there have been 371 cases recorded this year through March 16, down slightly from 387 last year. There were 168 hijackings through March 16, 2020, and 95 in 2019. If March’s carjacking pace continues, the city will see a year-over-year increase in hijackings by the end of the month.
But the city’s Violence Reduction Dashboard, which reflects more current data through March 22, shows 462 carjacking victimizations this year, up one from the same period last year. “Victimizations” is a slightly different measure, counting the number of victims in the hijacked vehicles rather than the number of vehicles taken.