After seeing a modest decline in carjackings last year from 2021’s record highs, Chicago is starting the new year on the wrong foot. Through the first nine days of 2023, the most recent data available, Chicago police recorded 70 carjackings, up from 53 during the same days last year and 55 during the opening days of 2021, which ended as the worst single month for carjackings in the city since at least 2001.
At least three more armed hijackings have been reported since Monday night, including one in Lakeview and another in Rogers Park.
The Lincoln Park carjacking occurred around 9:55 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Racine. Chicago police said a 23-year-old woman had just parked her black Jeep Grand Cherokee when two men walked up and took her car keys at gunpoint.
Both hijackers escaped in the woman’s Jeep, which was followed by a red sedan. Investigators determined that the second car, a Toyota Avalon, was itself carjacked shortly before the Lakeview crime, according to a source.
Illinois State Police troopers found the two cars traveling together on the Eisenhower Expressway within minutes of the second carjacking. ISP chased the cars and eventually found both vehicles abandoned in the 4400 block of West West End in Garfield Park. That’s the same block where the Toyota was carjacked earlier, according to CPD records.
Then, around 2:11 a.m., a 49-year-old man was carjacked in Rogers Park.
He was inside his black Toyota Yaris when a group of hijackers confronted him with a gun and demanded his car in the 1700 block of West Juneway Terrace, a CPD spokesperson said. Two carjackers got into the man’s vehicle and drove away, picking up a third person down the street. The other two offenders took the victim’s personal property from the car and ran away on foot, the spokesperson said.
An officer who looked at surveillance camera footage radioed detailed descriptions of the carjackers, which he said included three females:
- a Black male, 16 to 18 years old, wearing a black hoodie with lettering, yellow joggers, and black sandals with white socks
- a Black female, 16 to 18 years old, wearing a teal jacket, gray hoodie, blue skinny jeans, and black shoes
- a Black female, 5’4″ to 5’5″ tall, with long blonde hair in braids, wearing a black jacket, white leggings, and black boots with fur
- a Black female, 16 to 18 years old, wearing an orange winter cap, red puffy jacket, and dark jeans
- a Black male, 16 to 18 years old, wearing a black hoodie, black face mask, ripped blue jeans, and red shoes
On Saturday, a group of five young people, including at least one female, carjacked a woman at knifepoint in Uptown and then robbed two Loyola University students within minutes in Rogers Park. Chicago police have not publicly linked Tuesday’s carjacking with the earlier crimes.
However, CWB Chicago reported this weekend that the Uptown victim’s car sped away from police after officers spotted it in the 1700 block of West Juneway Terrace — the same block where this morning’s crime occurred — on Saturday morning.
Whether the new year’s hot carjacking pace will continue remains to be seen. Armed hijackings began to fade in the second half of 2022 as the “Kia Boys” phenomenon hit the city. CBS2 recently reported that 10% of the Kias registered in Chicago had been stolen in 2022. The station found that 7% of Hyundais, another car model with faulty ignition systems that allow thieves to steal them with USB cables, had been stolen.