Soaring rates of carjackings in some major U.S. cities have been driven in part by young teenagers, according to The New York Times.
Washington, D.C., saw juvenile cases drop 60% across the board for nearly every category of violent crime from 2020 to 2021, except for carjacking, which nearly tripled, according to the NYT.
Youth under 18 accounted for more than half of the carjacking arrests in the nation’s capital over the last year, according to NYT. The city reportedly saw 426 carjackings in 2021. And of the 151 carjacking arrests in 2021, 85 involved minors with criminal records, the NYT reported.
Washington, D.C., high school students told the NYT their peers viewed car theft as a sport or a fad, often posting videos of joyrides on social media. One young man said the criminal trend that took off in the early days of the pandemic made teens feel “like the world [was] about to end … like you got nothing to lose.”
A 17-year-old who was arrested and charged with the January armed robbery of a Washington, D.C., city council candidate was accused of stealing the candidate’s car at gunpoint and posting videos of himself driving the stolen car on social media before the car was spotted at the locations of two separate shootings days later, according to the NYT. One of those shootings was reportedly fatal. (RELATED: Robbery Suspects Pick Car Of Rare Philly Concealed Carry Permit Holder, One Dies)
“I honestly believe it’s a game,” Tariq Majeed, victim of an armed carjacking in the city told the NYT. While stolen cars used to be stripped down and sold, it is now more common to simply abandon stolen cars on the street or crash them, according to the NYT.
“When you don’t have activities in their communities, everything’s shut down, young people are going to find a way to entertain themselves,” Majeed said, the NYT reported. “It’s recreation, that’s what it is.”
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