LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 16-year old shot during a carjacking in Louisville on Tuesday morning was the 209th carjacking in the city this year.

Carjackings are up this year and the Louisville Metro Police Department said it's stepping up investigations. Several weeks ago, LMPD centralized its unit to investigate carjackings.

"The carjackings were being investigated at the division level. The problem with that is carjackers travel from division to division," said LMPD Chief Erika Shields. "You need to treat a carjacking like you do a homicide. You need to put every resource on it and make an arrest as quickly as you can."

According to LMPD, there were 80 carjackings across Louisville in 2019. In 2020, the number jumped to 211. So far this year, there have been 209 carjackings and counting.

"We've got to get gun owners to secure their weapons. They either leave them open in the cars, or they leave the cars unlocked," said Shields.

She said there are too many stolen guns on the streets that are being used in violent crimes like carjackings and homicides.

"You're seeing some gang activity where folks are engaging in violence for no reason, other than that's the theme of the gang, or maybe they're trying to get some level of credibility," she said.

Anti-violence activist Christopher 2X with Game Changers said some of the young people committing these crimes don't rationalize the consequences.

"The attractiveness and the magnetic pull of street life is serious, in their mindsets and in their daily lives," said 2X. "Some of us can't fathom that, but in their world, they normalize it, which is sad and scary at the same time."

Police are encouraging drivers to be aware of their surroundings. Shields says looking down at your phone can make you an easier target.

"I would encourage anyone, don't fight back over property. Let it go. File the insurance," she said. "I know it's aggravating, but there is not a piece of property out there that is worth your health."

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