13 Chicago Carjacking Statistics: 2023 Update
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Carjacking has become more commonplace over the years. Stolen vehicles have been an issue for years, but carjacking is unique in that the robbery occurs while the car owner is present, which can be much more frightening and dangerous.
The city of Chicago is no stranger to crime, but the Midwest metropolis is experiencing a deep current of violent crimes related to carjacking.
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The 13 Statistics About Carjackings in Chicago, Illinois
- There were 1,416 carjackings in Chicago in 2020.
- By the end of 2021, the city was on pace to set a new record for carjackings by upwards of 44%.
- Only 10% maximum of carjackings result in an arrest.
- Chicago currently suffers from the most carjackings of any city in the United States.
- 64% of carjacking victims are men.
- The car most commonly stolen is the Toyota Camry.
- Tuesdays are the biggest days for carjackings.
- Carjacking is a form of violent crime, which has seen a 7.5% spike across the city.
- Carjackings are most on the rise in the northwest and south sides of Chicago, with rates up over 40% in some neighborhoods.
- Carjacking is actually an unofficial term.
- Carjackings most often occur when someone initially leaves the vehicle.
- Police say victims should give up their car in the event of a carjacking.
- Carjackings can take as little as 15 seconds to complete.
Carjacking Frequency Data
1. There were 1,416 carjackings in Chicago in 2020.
Chicago recorded a record number of carjackings in 2020. The data collected by the city and Chicago police show 1,416 reported carjackings in 2020 alone. That number was a massive increase over 2019, which saw just north of 600 such incidents. The number in 2020 represents a 125% increase over 2019 figures.
The 2020 number averages out to 3.87 carjackings every single day. That figure alarmed city officials, but despite prevention efforts, the number of carjackings continues to rise yearly.
2. By the end of 2021, the city was on pace to set a new record for carjackings by upwards of 44%.
Even after a record-setting 2020, 2021 looked like it would surpass the figures from the previous year. Preliminary data shows that Chicago is on pace to break the record set in 2020 by 44%. If the data holds, the official number is expected to exceed 2,000 carjackings reported in 2021. If we extrapolate the expected increase of 44% from 2020, the projected number of carjacking incidents is 2,039.
3. Only 10% maximum of carjackings result in an arrest.
Despite the high volume of carjacking crimes, very few of the victims see justice. According to data publicly released by Cook County and compiled by Civicfed, the average percentage of carjacking incidents that result in an arrest is just 10%. Those figures date back to 2001. The highest percentage of arrests occurred in 2013, but only 15% of carjackings still resulted in an arrest.
And an arrest does not even guarantee a conviction. There is no readily available data on how many of these cases were successfully prosecuted or prosecuted at all. Many victims simply do not get a good look at the perpetrator due to the speed at which these crimes can happen.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many criminals wear face coverings that help conceal their identities without standing out in a crowd. Often, the cars are stripped down for parts and sold off before law enforcement can make an arrest or find the vehicle.
4. Chicago currently suffers from the most carjackings of any city in the United States.
If you think these numbers sound high, you are right. Chicago currently suffers from the highest number of carjackings in the United States. No other city sees the number of crimes of this kind like Chicago. Chicago recently beat out Detroit for the city with the most carjacking crimes.
Victims, Trends, and Patterns
5. 64% of carjacking victims are men.
Men outnumber female carjacking victims almost two to one, recent data shows. This number shows a skew towards men being targeted more often than women at a much higher rate than expected. One reason that could explain the discrepancy is the reluctance of car thieves to target cars with children inside.
A stolen car with children on board will generate a much greater police response than an empty car. The Chicago Police Department even suggests telling would-be car thieves when children are in the car as a deterrent method.
6. The car most commonly stolen is the Toyota Camry.
Out of all the cars on the road, the Toyota Camry is the most stolen from carjacking. The Camry is also one of the most common cars on the road and is more likely to be stolen. It also shows that carjackers in Chicago are not picky about the kinds of cars they target. Everyday cars are targeted just as much or more than luxury vehicles.
7. Tuesdays are the most common day for carjackings.
Oddly enough, Tuesday was the day with the most reported carjackings. According to data obtained by ABC Chicago, more carjackings take place on a Tuesday than any other day. Police officers thought the most common days for car theft would be Friday or Saturday, not Tuesday. When asked to comment, the police had no concrete answers for why Tuesdays suffer more carjackings than other days of the week.
Carjacking Basics And How To Best Protect Yourself
8. Carjacking is a form of violent crime, which has seen a 7.5% spike across the city.
Carjacking counts as a violent crime and involves physical assault and theft. The recent spike in carjackings has played into a city-wide increase in violent crime overall. Violent crime is up 7.5% in Chicago, and the massive number of these carjackings is only helping to keep that number elevated year over year.
9. Carjackings are most on the rise in the northwest and south sides of Chicago, with rates up over 40% in some neighborhoods.
The rise in violent crime rates, including carjackings, is not evenly distributed throughout the city. Though crime is increasing in every neighborhood, some locations suffer more than others. According to Axios, some neighborhoods are seeing crime rising by as high as 46%.
Neighborhoods in the northwest and southern parts of Chicago have seen significant spikes in carjackings that are outpacing the rest of the city. ABC Chicago identified a series of western neighborhoods where carjacking rates are quadruple that of the city average.
10. Carjacking is actually an unofficial term.
(Chicago Police Department)
Surprisingly, carjacking is not an official judicial term. The word “carjacking” is a shortened form of its official designation: car hijacking or vehicular hijacking. The term is used to differentiate between car theft and vehicular hijacking.
Car theft still results in a vehicle being stolen, but it happens out of view and without the owner’s knowledge. Car hijacking usually includes the victim being physically removed from a vehicle.
11. Carjackings most often occur when someone initially leaves the vehicle.
(Chicago Police Department)
Carjackings can happen anywhere at any time, but the most common time for a carjacking is when a driver steps out of their vehicle. Whether the car is running or not, car thieves wait for a driver to leave the car, and then they come up and demand their keys and their phone.
Most carjackers make their demands while threatening the driver with a weapon. At that moment, the driver is the most vulnerable, confused, and the car is unlocked. The thieves know the driver has the keys on them, making them a perfect target.
12. Police say victims should give up their car in the event of a carjacking.
(Chicago Police Department)
If a person is unfortunate enough to become the victim of a carjacking, police say they should simply give the car up. If the car is taken, let it drive away. If someone demands their keys, they should give them up. Why? Because cars are replaceable, lives are not.
To avoid dangerous situations such as assault, murder, and high-speed chases, police have advocated for simply giving up the vehicle in these tense situations, even though it goes against people’s base instincts.
13. Carjackings can take as little as 15 seconds to complete.
(Jefferson County Sherriff)
Crime can happen in the blink of an eye. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, carjackings can take as little as 15 seconds to play out from start to finish. That is incredibly fast and can leave a victim without their car in moments.
Not every carjacking is so fast. Other incidents can take much longer to unfold, especially if a physical altercation or scheme is involved. For example, carjackers will purposefully rear-end a victim and pretend to want to inspect the damage and swap information only to jump into the unsuspecting vehicle and drive away. These incidents can take longer, sometimes minutes, but the result is still the same.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chicago Carjackings
What can I do to prevent a carjacking?
The best thing to do to prevent carjacking is to be aware of your surroundings and to be aware of the area. There are pockets of Chicago where the rate of violent crime, including carjackings, is much higher than average. The police say to trust your instincts. If something does not feel right, leave the area.
Remember that most carjacking incidents begin as soon as a driver leaves their vehicle, being aware of your immediate surroundings can help see threats before they happen. Also, never leave your car idling when you are not inside. If you leave your vehicle, shut it off, take the keys with you, and lock the car behind you.
What do I do if I have been carjacked?
Do not engage the criminal; just give up the vehicle and leave the area. Then, call 911. The police are adamant about telling victims to leave the car and the vehicle to the perpetrator and leave the area as quickly as possible. This might go against people’s instincts to protect their property, but putting your safety first is the best thing to do in any crime, especially during a carjacking.
There are cases of carjackings that result in a violent assault or murder of the driver. The best thing to do is to ensure your safety, leave the vehicle, and call the police ASAP. If reported in a timely manner, the vehicle can be recovered.
What kinds of cars are carjacked the most?
Standard sedans are the most commonly targeted. According to the data, the Toyota Camry is the most commonly stolen car. The other car models that round out the top five include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Nissan Altima, the Chevy Malibu, and the Honda CRV. (ABC Chicago)
Contrary to popular belief, luxury cars are not targeted at higher rates than average cars. Chicago’s top five most stolen cars include three sedans and two SUVs. None of the cars on the list are considered luxury vehicles.
Are the carjacking numbers in Chicago projected to decrease?
No. Current projections have the number of carjackings remaining at similar levels. The city has added resources to reduce carjackings, including 40 additional officers for the Carjacking Taskforce. However, there is doubt that carjackings will fall back to normal in the coming year.
At this point, a flat year or even a slight decrease will be preferable to the exponential rise that the city has been battling over the past couple of years. That will still put the number of carjackings between 1,400 and 2,000.
Related Read: 15 Car Theft Statistics and Facts
These facts and statistics regarding Chicago carjackings have been updated using the latest available data and news sources. To help protect the public, this information is periodically released by the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department.
Hopefully, the rate of these violent crimes will trend downward this year, but the numbers from the past few years have not looked good. Information and statistics can only arm people with the knowledge they need to put themselves in the best position to avoid becoming victims.
Featured Image Credit: Pormezz, Shutterstock