Why Carjacking Is on the Rise Amongst Teenagers in America

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The boy, who like different classmates didn’t need to be named, mentioned that within the early days of the pandemic, he had heard that guys on the road had been stealing vehicles to usher in some cash. Then younger folks began doing it, he mentioned, at first leaping into vehicles that had been left idling and unattended and simply driving round. Movies of those rides across the metropolis began displaying up on social media.

Earlier than lengthy, “carjacking turned a sport,” mentioned one group organizer. “An enormous bandwagon,” mentioned one other.

“A thrill, nearly like a fad,” Warees Majeed mentioned. “While you don’t have actions of their communities, all the things’s shut down, younger persons are going to discover a strategy to entertain themselves. It’s recreation, that’s what it’s.”

The notion that crimes go out and in of vogue shouldn’t be new. Within the early 2000s, some younger folks in Washington started stealing vehicles, calling themselves “U.U. Boys” after the prison cost of “unauthorized use of a car.” Then, auto thefts started dropping precipitously, mentioned Eduardo Ferrer, the coverage director of the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, and cellphone snatching started to proliferate.

“It has been attention-grabbing over the course of my profession to look at the combination of crime shift with out seeming rationalization,” Professor Ferrer mentioned. “Quite a few these are crimes of alternative, of us in search of that sort of low-hanging fruit.”

What is obvious, he mentioned, is that the long-term affect of the solitary and traumatic pandemic years on the event of adolescents can’t be overstated. Although faculties are again to in-person studying and recreation facilities are reopening, that affect — and the rise in carjackings — has not merely gone away.

“I don’t suppose persons are ready for the way a lot we’re going to need to dig out and heal from the pandemic,” Professor Ferrer mentioned.

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