Chicago carjackings decrease sharply after task force formed, CPD says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After the Chicago Police Department formed a task force to cut down on the number of carjckings in the city, they say they're already making progress.

Police say there have been 39 carjackings in the last 20 days in Chicago, down from 126 in the first seven weeks of the year.

Out of 39 carjackings in the 20 days since a special task force was put in place, there have been 21 arrests - more than double the carjacking-related arrests compared to this time last year.

And Chicago Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said he wants to keep the new task force in place for months.

"To have these guys just focused on carjackings, I'm hoping to keep them focused for an extended period of time at least throughout the summer," Deenihan said.

For the first seven weeks of the year there was a spike in car related crime: 126 carjackings and only 42 arrests.

Which is why police say the team of about 30 officers assigned to the task force - including a police sergeant and lieutenant - is so important.

Deenihan said that team is, "monitoring these crimes in real time allowing officers to use surveillance video quicker in order to apprehend offenders in a shorter time period."

That can help carjacking victims like the one in this case last month -- a woman's stolen car taken on a wild ride and police chase down Dan Ryan.

The victim didn't want to be identified.

"It was horrifying... heartbreaking," she said.

The woman said she was carjacked at gunpoint.

"Second person in that vehicle got out with a gun that had a red light on it," she said.

"The victims are obviously always happy when they get their car back but if we can actually hold someone accountable and take them off the street the victims feel better," Deenihan said.

Now police say about half of the arrests they've made since the new task force was put into play have been juveniles, half adult.

Deenihan said they have an easier time keeping the adults in jail on bond, but all were charged with felonies.

The task force is a joint effort with the Illinois State Police, Cook County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Chicago police also said they have increased the use of license plate readers along Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and in the central business district, allowing officers to match license plates with a list of stolen vehicles.
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