Your friendly CWBChicago team learned a long time ago to stay out of the prediction business. So, it’s against our better judgment that we make this prediction: Chicago will experience a sharp drop in carjackings during the last three months of this year.
We’ll make a second prediction, too: Chicago Police Department leaders will be bragging about the decline nearly non-stop.
Hijackings are still occurring far more often than before the current surge began in May 2020.
In fact, two armed men carjacked a driver in the Gold Coast around 10:15 a.m. Monday, according to Chicago police. The hijackers followed a 50-year-old man as he walked in the neighborhood, then confronted him and took his keys at gunpoint in the first block of West Schiller, a CPD spokesperson said. The duo drove away in the victim’s gray Infiniti.
So, why do we think carjacking reports will be “down” through the end of the year?
Because there were so many carjackings in the last four months of last year, the only way hijacking reports could rise is if the city’s criminal elements set new monthly records.
According to CPD data, last September, October, November, and December were the sixth, fifth, fourth, and third-worst months for carjackings since at least 2001. Data for earlier years are not publicly available.
Take a look at this graph of monthly carjacking cases dating back to January 2001.
As you can see, this year (purple) has been setting monthly records for most of this year. But last year’s monthly totals (yellow) surged to heights that seem out of reach.
The city had “only” 148 carjackings in September, far short of the worst September on record in September 2021. But last month still managed to be the second-worst September this millennium.
If the year-over-year declines materialize for the rest of the year, you can expect Chicago police leaders to talk about it relentlessly at their weekly press conferences.
After all, CPD Supt. David Brown has already starts those press sessions by bragging that year-over-year murders and shootings are down by double-digits. But, his comparison again is 2021, the worst year for shootings and murder in Chicago since the 1990s.
Will our predictions come true? Let’s hope so. The city could use fewer carjackings.
And if CPD starts bragging about the carjacking decline, let’s hope the reporters in front of Brown press him for specific reasons why he thinks the reduction is due to his department’s efforts and not a favorable comparison set.
Here’s another prediction: The reporters won’t.