Chicago police have arrested more than 56 people on charges related to carjackings in the Windy City so far in 2022, officials said Thursday.
Chicago Police Superintendent (CPD) David O. Brown was talking about the crimes committed and those arrested so far this year when he noted the dozens of carjacking busts for 2022 so far.
“Fifty-six,” Brown repeated at an afternoon press conference. “Again, it’s January 13.”
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He attributed the high number of arrests to the work of the CPD’s Vehicle Hijacking Task Force. Last year, the ministry announced it would strengthen the task force, adding 40 officers and bolstering community engagement efforts.
News of carjacking incidents in Chicago and other cities across the country has been in the news for the past few days. In one example, three carjacking incidents were reported in New York in the span of an hour.
As for Windy City, two minors were charged Jan. 4 with aggravated carjacking for an attempted carjacking, Brown said. They reportedly fled after struggling to start the vehicle, but the victim was able to identify them with certainty.
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Two days later, two more people were arrested following another carjacking incident in which one of the suspects ordered a victim to get out of his vehicle and drive away, the superintendent continued.
And on Wednesday, the CPD’s Vehicle Hijacking Task Force conducted its first citywide operation of the year, making five felony arrests and finding two hijacked and seven stolen vehicles, Brown said.
“We’ll keep the momentum going by pursuing all leads,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, CPD officers have removed 284 firearms from Chicago streets so far this year through Jan. 13.
Brown began Thursday’s press conference by offering his condolences to the families of two 14-year-olds who were fatally shot in separate incidents on Wednesday.
The first shooting occurred just before 4 p.m. Police say a boy, identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Javion Ivy, was standing on the sidewalk when he was shot twice in the chest. Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters Thursday morning that witnesses told police they saw two people fleeing the scene. The boy was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Deenihan said the second boy was shot at around 8:50 p.m. in Englewood on the South Side. He said the boy was walking with a friend when someone in a dark colored vehicle shot him in the head. The boy, identified by the medical examiner’s office as James Sweezer, was pronounced dead shortly before midnight.
Police said the second shooting occurred in the same neighborhood where earlier in the evening a 29-year-old woman sitting in her car was shot by two men who got out of their vehicle, approached and opened fire before leaving. No arrests have been made in the shooting and police have not said whether they believe the two killings are related.
“I think of these two young boys and I think of their potential,” Brown said Thursday. “These are two of Chicago’s kids deprived of their future, and that’s unacceptable.”
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Brown promised the department would “do everything possible to crack down on the criminals, gangs and narcotics rings that drive violence in our city.”
He had a message for the criminals of the city: “Don’t think for a moment that we’re going to let you off the hook. We will prosecute you and bring you to justice.
Stephen Sorace of Fox New contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.