After two downtown carjackings in days, councilman says police action needed now

CHICAGO (CBS) – A woman was the victim of a mid-loop carjacking as she stopped at an intersection early Friday morning – in the second downtown carjacking in recent days.

As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, these carjackings are concerning for many reasons — and they’re part of an overall increase in crime in the Loop.

For all of last year, we’ve tracked 17 total carjackings in the Loop Community Area – which includes the Loop itself and part of the South Loop up to Roosevelt Road. This year there have already been eight with the two this week – and it’s only April.

EXTRA WEB: Tracking carjackings in Chicago

In this latest incident just after 1 a.m. Friday, police say a 53-year-old woman was driving down State Street and was stopped at a red light on Washington Street when a man opened his car door and forced her out.

She told Chicago police the man implied he had a gun.

This follows another carjacking about a block away in the 100 block of North Dearborn Street on Tuesday evening. In this incident, a 26-year-old pregnant woman was walking to her car just before 10 p.m. when two people approached her to ask for her keys.

In that first incident, Chicago police later arrested two minors – recovering his car and a fully loaded handgun. But as of Friday, police had still not announced any charges – and would not say whether the teenagers were still in custody or had been released.

Fortunately, both women were fine on Friday. But there was no update in either case.

Molina learns that the two carjackings are still under investigation.

Enter Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who told us that these carjackings in the city center are worrying in more ways than one. He said the fact that the 53-year-old woman was targeted while she was at an intersection – the first time we’ve seen something like this in the Loop – is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“To mind your own business while driving in traffic and all of a sudden you hear a pounding on your window and you turn around and see a gun in your face?” Hopkins said: “It’s a new twist in the carjacking experience, we’ve been seeing more of that lately, and that’s cause for concern.”

Hopkins said crime statistics tell a story, but so do the people who live and travel in the city. He also disputed claims that crime is down. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this week that so far some violent crime is down year over year.

“The important thing is how do people feel? Does anyone feel safer today than five years ago? Definitely not, and I don’t know anyone who does. “said Hopkins. “So don’t tell me crime is down. We have a real problem in our society. We have a real problem in our city and we’re not doing enough to fix it. Those are the facts.”

Hopkins said more officers are expected to be stationed downtown this summer.

“We have plans for the summer. We’re using more bike patrols,” Hopkins said. “The violence reduction initiative where we have fixed posts in the city center – it’s somewhat helpful, but it needs to be part of a larger core.”

Hopkins also said he and others are asking for more — and now.

“We need more police,” he said. “We need more police downtown, and we need a greater police response to this disturbing trend of carjackings in the Loop.”

TAG: At 5 p.m., what Alderman Hopkins says he and others are calling in response to these brazen crimes…* before we head into the summer.


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