CHICAGO — According to new data from Chicago police, an average of 83 cars are reported stolen per day in the city. The number of car thefts has doubled this year, compared to last, and overall, car thefts are up 226% from 2019.
Some victims say they do not feel like police are taking the crimes seriously.
“When you call they’re just kind of like, they like brush it off,” said Amanda, a victim of car theft who spoke to WGN News in August.
Retired Chief Of Detectives, Eugene Roy says one reason may be the lack of manpower in the city. The Chicago Police Department is currently down 1,500 officers compared to a few years ago, and Roy says there are fewer officers on the street to deter crime.
“Due to the dramatic rise in the number of auto thefts sometimes there aren’t enough call takers to take all the cars and quickly process them in the order they’re received,” Roy said.
Another reason for the increase could be due to how easy the crime can be. Viral videos show how to start Kias and Hyundais without a key. It has become such a problem that the City of Chicago even filed a lawsuit against these automakers.
“In some months, more than 60% of all the car thefts in the city are Hyundais and Kias,” Steve Kane, Deputy Corporation Counsel at the City of Chicago Department of Law, said.
While city officials want to hold automakers accountable, a lack of consequences for offenders may also be to blame.
“The vast majority of people caught in possession of a stolen motor vehicle are juveniles,” said Roy. “If they’re juveniles the consequences are slim to none.”
Police said in a press release that there have been 835 carjackings in the city, down 26% compared to last year. Since carjacking involves the threat of force or use of force, it is considered a more serious crime than car theft.