WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Carjacking incidents have been on the rise in the District and police officials are seeking ways to curb the bedeviling trend.
Metro Police Department officials listed 485 incidents in 2022, a spike of 14% from the previous year.
Last year marked the fifth straight year that carjackings have increased in DC.
Young people are the primary cause of the shift, police officials say, and the coronavirus pandemic that took juveniles out of school and away from supervision.
“This is a topic that we can discuss for days on end,” said Sgt. Valkyrie Barnes, the head of DC police’s carjacking task force. “Maybe like an absenteeism of some parents being able to provide that role of supervision.”
Last year, officials said at least 73 percent of the incidents involved guns.
“With the spike, we have seen an increase of juvenile offenders,” Barnes said. “COVID certainly contributed to that, the lack of school, the lack of accountability. Parks and Rec took a huge hit. Their programs weren’t up and running.”
Police made 125 arrests last year with 68% of them being juveniles, according to DC statistics.
Barnes said “communication really is key” between various law enforcement agencies in curbing carjackings in the District.
“Whether it’s with local law enforcement agencies or with our federal partners in the United States attorney’s office, even the office of the attorney general when there are arrests made,” she said.