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Auto thefts, carjackings surge in major US cities, new report found

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A new analysis of crime trends released Thursday by the Criminal Justice Council (CCJ) found that auto thefts in 30 major cities increased 59% from 2019 to 2022, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. surged to

of data It also showed that during the pandemic, car thefts more than doubled in 8 of the 30 cities surveyed. In Memphis and Chicago he tripled.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at St. Missouri University, said: Louis, and author of his CCJ study. “It was simply because it became harder and harder to steal a car. Newer model cars came with electronic ignition and locking systems, and he had a GPS system.”

But according to Rosenfeld, that downward trend began to reverse “shortly after the start” of the pandemic.

“It will continue until the end of 2022 and shows no signs of stopping,” he added.

According to CCJ’s report, there will be 37,560 more vehicle thefts in 2022 than in the previous year across 30 cities.

The latest research, which takes a deep dive into crime trends across the country, draws on data from 35 cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. However, not all cities report data on all crimes. In the case of homicides, 27 cities released figures.

Here’s a breakdown of key takeaways from the new report:

29% increase in carjackings amid pandemic

In 2020, Americans will spend $7.4 billion Losses due to auto theft, according to the FBI. According to the CCJ, “Add to these direct costs the costs of other crimes that automobile theft facilitates, such as burglaries, burglaries, and drive-by shootings.”

Auto thefts have fallen dramatically from 659 per 100,000 population in 1991 to 246 per 100,000 population in 2020, but have rebounded rapidly in the wake of the pandemic.

“For decades, the car theft rate was plummeting. The car fatality rate was plummeting,” said Rosenfeld. “Certainly, from the early 1990s until the start of the pandemic, they were pretty depressed.”

what changed? Rosenfeld said there is still no “good and definitive answer” to that question, but said the rising trend is “a symbol of modern urban crime.”

According to the report, the number of carjackings, defined as the theft or attempted theft of a vehicle by force or intimidation, in seven cities—Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Norfolk—up from 3,000 in 2020. By 2022, it will increase to 3,713. and San Francisco.

City of Chicago data Between 2016 and 2021, the rate of juvenile carjackings more than doubled, from 18% to 41%, suggesting that most carjackers citywide are young adults. increase.

“Carjacking is technically a form of robbery, but robbery rates have declined and carjackings have increased during the pandemic,” Rosenberg said.

The report elaborates that “two distinct increases in vehicle theft have been observed since early 2020,” with an “first increase early in the pandemic, followed by a significant increase in spring 2022.”

According to the National Insurance and Crime Bureau, there was more than There will be 936,000 vehicle thefts in 2021, a 27% increase from 2019. Insurance claims for theft of catalytic converters, defined as theft of automotive parts, have shown a staggering 1,215% increase from 2019 to 2021.

Analysts like Rosenberg stressed that “the recent rise in property crime and carjackings requires immediate action by law enforcement and policy makers.”

Homicides to drop 4% in 2022 but remain at historical highs

Homicides in major US cities are down 4% in 2022, with 242 fewer cases across 27 US cities that publish data on this crime. However, the murder rate remained 34% higher than it was in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

While overall homicide rates have fallen nationwide, homicide rates in Raleigh, North Carolina soared by 48%, Seattle by 14%, and Atlanta by 10%.

Raleigh has seen 33 homicides in 2021 drop to 49 in 2022. Rosenberg calls the statistical change “meaningful.”

Cities surveyed by the CCJ saw a 37% increase in the number of homicides between 2019 and 2020.

Rosenfeld said the decline in trust in law enforcement after widespread protests in the summer of 2020 made some Americans “possible to cooperate with police when trying to investigate serious crimes.” “That means they are less likely to report crimes to the police and less likely to report crimes to the police.” Please solve the problem with your own hands. ”

According to the report, the decline in homicides, worsening assaults and gun attacks in 2022 “reflects a reduction in the stress and dislocations associated with the pandemic, as well as a decline in the social unrest that prevailed following the murder of George Floyd. “But overall, the incidence of these crimes remains significantly higher than before the pandemic. Lethal and non-lethal attacks deserve serious attention from policy makers.” I keep needing it.”

In Richmond, the homicide rate plummeted by 40%, while in New York City, the citywide homicide rate dropped by nearly 12%.

Domestic violence incidents fell slightly in a dozen major cities

Incidents of domestic violence fell by nearly 5% in 2022, with 4,067 fewer reported incidents of domestic violence.

However, according to the CCJ, “these results should be viewed with caution as they are based on only 11 cities for which domestic violence data are available,” highlighting the lack of reporting of such incidents. doing.

previous systematic review A CCJ study of domestic violence recorded an 8.1% increase in incidents after cities and states imposed pandemic-related lockdown orders in the spring of 2020. , colleagues, and anyone who can report signs of abuse or violence and help potential victims escape violent situations.

These and other dynamics can pose a variety of reporting challenges, experts warn.

“At least, victims may not have been able to contact police early in the pandemic, when they could have been quarantined in their homes with their offenders,” Rosenfeld said. But police data shows that domestic violence continues to decline.”

Increase in robberies, especially in non-residential areas

The report found that robberies and thefts – thefts that don’t involve force or burglary – increased by 5.5% and 8%, respectively, in 31 major cities across the country in 2022.

Home burglaries were down 2%, but non-home burglaries surged by 26,960. This is an 11% increase, and experts believe the statistical phenomenon may be related to the reopening of businesses.

“Average monthly robbery rates in the 31 cities with available data were lower in the first two years of the pandemic than in the two preceding years,” the report said.

Robberies started to increase towards the second half of 2021. By December 2022, he had 4,143 robberies in cities surveyed by the CCJ, a 5.5% increase from 2021. 2019 level. Similarly, non-resident robberies in 2022 remained low at nearly 8%.

What It Means: Unrest, COVID-19, and the Future

According to the CCJ, one of the reasons for the recent increase in crimes that seek to steal money and property from victims is believed to be the “return to some degree of normalcy.”

“As stores reopen, opportunities for retail theft have increased,” the report notes.

Another factor is the emergence of “volatile economic conditions”, such as rising prices due to food, fuel and house price inflation that first materialized in the last months of 2021 and accelerated sharply in 2022. .

As for murder and other violent crimes other than robbery, “I don’t have a crystal ball,” admitted Rosenfeld. “However, the gradual but overall downward trend seen in 2022 suggests that the decline will continue next year.”

What exactly is coming in 2023? Experts like Rosenfeld acknowledge that history, especially his 2020, proves that trendlines are highly susceptible to domestic phenomena.

“Unless another controversial incident similar to George Floyd (police going viral and unrest-encouraging use of force) occurs, and without a significant increase in COVID reinstating lockdowns, these trends is expected to continue to decline relatively modestly, which is my best guess for 2023…but that’s a guess.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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