According to Baltimore police, carjacking incidents have tripled in Baltimore, since 2013, with numbers continuing the scale in the first part of 2017. The pace has far outpaced other auto thefts, but Baltimore is not the only U.S. city to feel the impact of carjacking.
Analysts and law enforcement officers are accrediting the spike to suspects thinking the courts will not treat them harshly, the majority of suspects are juveniles or young males and suspects are emboldened by the relative ease of the crime.
Some analysts see the increase in carjacking as an “unintended consequence of better antitheft security devices being embedded into newer-model cars. Key codes and key fobs are also making it more difficult for suspects to gain access, without the driver being present.
Carjacked vehicles, with the keys intact will be much easier to resell on the black market. Stolen hot-wired vehicles, with broken windows busted steering column are much more difficult to get rid of.
In 2016, 402 carjacking incidents were reported, which adds up to a little more than 1 carjacked vehicle a day in a city of 620,000. However, 5,161 auto thefts or more than 14 per day were reported.
The 402 carjacking cases was a 42 percent increase from 2015 and 224 percent jump from 2013. According to the state’s statistics, auto thefts scaled 14 percent from 2013 to 2016.
“Stealing unoccupied cars has become increasingly difficult in recent years owing to improved anti-theft technology, and doing so can be both time-consuming and dangerous,” researchers from the University of Texas-Dallas, Georgia State and University of Missouri-St. Louis wrote in a 2003 study. “The car must be broken into and hot-wired, often to the accompaniment of a blaring alarm.”
Carjacking is more common if other cities, with an average of about 241 per year since 2013. Death is rarely reported with these cases, but the same cannot be said about injuries.
Police say in December 2016, then-City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector was approached by two teen in a parking garage. The teens three Spector to the ground, beat her, before stealing her car.
Later the same month, police say, a 13-year-old boy, with a replica handgun, approached a retired Baltimore police officer. The retired law enforcement officer defended himself by shooting the boy in the head.
Kevin Davis, Baltimore Police Commissioner, said that police broke up several groups of carjackers. In January, police officers pulled over two cars, one was stolen and the other was carjacked, with 7 suspects being arrested, ranging in age from 25 to 12.
Some have classified carjacking as a “crime of opportunity” and suspects are apparently drawn to Acuras and Hondas, because they are similar to the high-end Range Rover and BMW.