LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 20-minute pursuit led to the arrest of two carjacking suspects by Metro Police, on Tuesday.
According to a Metro Police Citation, the suspects were apprehended in a stolen Honda Civic. The suspects were 14 and 17 years old.
Josh Crawford, the executive director of Pegasus Institute, recently delved into the growing number of carjackings in Metro Louisville.
The study concluded that juveniles are one of the driving forces behind the recent spike in carjackings.
In a lot of the cases, the suspects aren't even old enough to have a driver's license, but that's not stopping them from getting behind the wheel.
”We looked at the evolution of carjackings in the city of Louisville from 2019 to 2021,” Crawford said.
According to police, there were 81 carjackings in 2019, 212 in 2020, and 248 in 2021.
"Not only have we seen a significant increase in carjackings overall about a 206% increase over that two-year period, but we've seen an increased percentage of those carjacking arrestees be juveniles," Crawford said.
According to the Metro Police Citation, obtained by WDRB News, there were at least two carjackings on Tuesday afternoon. When police located one of the stolen cars, they found a 14-year-old suspect behind the wheel.
"Unfortunately, a sizable percentage of those juveniles are actually 14 and younger. And so we're seeing younger and younger kids arrested for involvement in things like carjacking,” Crawford said.
Crawford says the carjackings are part of a nationwide trend.
”Chicago, Illinois, New Orleans, Louisiana, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," Crawford said. "In Philadelphia, a congresswoman was carjacked just recently."
In most of the cases, the suspects had guns. That's why it's important to keep in mind the only thing worth fighting for is your life.
Crawford recommends what's called target hardening to make yourself less likely to become a victim.
"Because carjacking is a crime of opportunity, in the sense that it's, would-be carjackers look for the opportunity to commit that carjacking. But it's not totally random, right? It's not just like people are like hey, maybe I'll come into carjacking today," he said. "There's a reasonably high level of criminal sophistication involved in a carjacking. And so they're looking for people who aren't likely to resist who are by themselves in a motor vehicle who maybe have their windows down or something like that.”
Crawford says there are a variety of reasons teenagers are taking cars.
”Unfortunately, this is sort of an entry-level offense for young gang members, young recruits to criminal street gangs,” he said. ”In part, because the law treats juvenile offenders different than adult offenders across a wide spectrum of offenses.”
Crawford says thieves aren't just targeting high-profile cars.
”Oftentimes, the car itself is not the asset in this carjacking. They're not trying to get a Mercedes or a BMW to then flip that Mercedes or BMW for cash," Crawford said. ”They're trying to get that car to then go on and do some other criminal offense in that car.”
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