CHICAGO (CBS) — Six weeks into 2021, Chicago has already seen more than 220 carjackings – compared with just over 70 at this time last year.
It’s clear this crisis isn’t going away, and it needs a solution as big as the problem itself. CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra talked on Monday with one victim who learned something that could help police track down carjackers faster.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Injured In I-57 Expressway Shooting Incident
A Chicago woman was running errands last week when she was the target of two carjackers. Her husband said they only found the car after it was towed and that towing company ran the plates and saw police flagged it as stolen.
Now, he is thinking of other ways that he, and we, can keep tabs on what we drive.
“It’s feeling powerless over a situation that shouldn’t be,” the man said.
The man asked us to protect his privacy – but not because he’s scared. He’s mad, after his wife was carjacked in Lincoln Park last week.
“It’s the fact that no matter what you do to protect those you love and the people around you, you’re always going to be vulnerable to some degree,” he said.
This was a Thursday afternoon in broad daylight. The woman was running errands at 3:45 p.m. on Armitage Avenue near Halsted Street.
“She had just cleared the snow back to be on the sidewalk when somebody came up behind her, put a gun in her back and said, ‘Give me the keys,’” the husband said.
She did, and they peeled off, and so began Chicago Police officers’ efforts to find the car. And what the couple said detectives asked about in their search could be a tip for all of us.
“The other suggestion was if you have Sirius XM radio or any kind of satellite radio that you could give them a call, and they should be able to locate where the car is,” the man said.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Temperatures Climbing; Sunny Skies Ahead
This couple did not have satellite radio, but that is one technology that could help find a vehicle. Another is OnStar, which works with law enforcement through its Stolen Vehicle Assistance program.
“Since 2009, OnStar has been able to slow vehicles down that have been confirmed stolen,” said OnStar’s Sherry LeVeque.
LeVeque says OnStar averages 30 to 40 calls for slowing down stolen vehicles per month across the U.S. It fields about 1,500 calls for general help with finding stolen vehicles monthly nationwide, with approximately 70 of those coming from Illinois.
“When conditions are appropriate and of course, when requested by law enforcement only,” she said.
The couple who was carjacked is now looking to technology like that, or smaller Bluetooth tracking devices to help find their car faster – should their bad luck strike twice.
“We’re going to load up on whatever we have to because of the climate of the world we’re living in right now,” the man said.
He praised the work of Chicago Police on this case, but as of late Monday, there were still no leads on the two people who held up his wife.
OnStar did not have any numbers on whether registrations for their service amid the rash of carjackings lately. But they did say they’re seeing more carjackings generally.
Unfortunately, OnStar also said technology has improved so it can make it harder to steal a car that’s just sitting there, so many criminals have reasoned it’s easier to threaten someone at gunpoint and steal their keys.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup