Motor vehicle thefts across 30 major cities have increased by 59% from 2019 to 2022, according to the statistics released by the Council on Criminal Justice earlier this year. CBS News reported that according to a criminologist, Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, “motor vehicle thefts had been plummeting” for decades and were on their way down, due largely in part to the fact newer technology made stealing a car more difficult. However, Dr. Rosenfeld disclosed that the downward trend quickly began reversing “right at the start” of the pandemic, and “has persisted through the end of 2022 with no sign of letting up.”
According to the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, motor vehicle theft is the third most common property crime in the United States. Data from the city of Chicago indicates that most citywide carjackers are young adults, but that carjackings by juveniles has more than doubled, from 18% to 41%, between 2016 and 2021. Additionally, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that there were more than 936,000 vehicle thefts in 2021, a 27% increase since 2019. Crime analysts like Dr. Rosenberg stress that “recent increases in property crime and carjacking require immediate action from law enforcement and policy makers.”
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