Chicago's crackdown on carjacking and other vehicle crimes has resulted in 210 arrests so far this year, Police Superintendent David Brown announced. The number of carjackings reported in the first half of this month fell 35% from the number in the second half of January, Brown said—though he didn't address any effect the weather might have had on those totals, Fox 32 reports. "We are working hard to restore safety for our city's drivers," Brown tweeted. The department recently added 40 officers to its carjacking task force, and has bolstered its community engagement efforts. Overall, carjackings are becoming a bigger problem in the city. They were up 135% last year, to 1,415. Police report there were 218 this January, after just 77 in January 2020. Most carjackers are between 15 and 20, police said; a 15-year-old was charged in one case this week. Partly because of that fact, many victims and others in Chicago struggle with the issue, per WBEZ.
Black women who are mothers say they're conflicted about their fear, the crime and about wanting an increased police presence to head it off. "Who are the carjackers? Black children largely," one professor said. "And yet I'm a mother of four and I have two sons. I understand what police presence, though I want that to happen, may mean in terms of deadly force and fatality." One victim describes the trauma she suffered when she came out of a gas station to find a man pulling away in her car who pointed a gun at her. "That carjacking did something to my spirit and my life, and I'll never be the same," she said. Still, she added: "The mommy in me wants to say kids make mistakes." A Cook County commissioner said the problem defies simple solutions such as more police and more arrests, per WBEZ. "If locking people up made us safe, or safer, we wouldn't be experiencing what we're experiencing right now," he said. (Read more carjacking stories.)