By Tara Molina


 

CHICAGO (CBS) — An alarming spike in Chicago crime shows seven carjackings in the past 24 hours.

The latest victim: A man was dragged from his car in Bucktown. CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke with a criminology expert who blames COVID-19 for the rise in crime.

He called them crimes of opportunity when the coronavirus has taken others away, adding that the carjacking in Bucktown Monday night, and the six others, were nearly impossible to prevent because they happened so quickly.

Picking up a delivery in Bucktown, a man was getting into his car after 8 p.m. Monday night when a man came up behind him with a gun and took off is his car in the 1900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, leaving him hanging onto the car door.

Taken to the hospital with minor issues, the man is reportedly OK.

Just hours before, an off-duty Chicago police officer was carjacked at gunpoint in the 8900 block of South Euclid Avenue in Calumet Heights. A man carjacked was also at gunpoint in the 0-99 block of North Aberdeen Street in the West Loop. Four more carjackings happened in a four hour span on the city’s South Side.

Criminology professor Art Lurigio said the crimes are spiking now for a reason: the pandemic.

“Carjacking is a low risk, high profit venture,” Lurigio said. “There’s been building economic pressure and increased desperation among young men in the city.”

With more than 1,400 victims in 2020, CBS 2 found carjackings more than doubled in a year. The worst increases in these neighborhoods: Bridgeport, Albany Park, North Center, Woodlawn and Grand Boulevard.

“The increase is nothing short of astounding,” Lurigio said.

What’s being done about them?

CPD said it believes the four carjackings on the city’s South Side Monday are connected to the same duo, adding that districts are sharing information as they continue to investigate these issues and they’re stepping up patrols in the neighborhoods where they’ve happened.

No one in custody for any of the seven carjackings. Despite the issue spanning months, Chicago City Council didn’t talk about carjackings during its public safety meeting Tuesday.

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