The Windy City is enduring a crime wave like none other in recent memory and it’s lasted for nearly a year. In addition to the looting and property destruction, one of the most common forms of crime these days is carjacking. Chicago’s gangs have been on a rampage, with armed thefts of vehicles idling at stoplights increasingly taking place in broad daylight. More than 150 carjackings were reported in just the month of January. One woman who recently lost her car in this fashion told CBS News in Chicago that the thief was just fourteen years old. Armed children are roaming the streets and engaging in carjacking “as if it’s a game.”
“It happened quick,” said carjacking victim Tavashane Brown…
“They implied that they had guns,” she said. “They told me to get out. I gave them everything. I was like, ‘Look, here, take everything. Just don’t hurt me.’”
“Kids are out here doing this as if it’s a game. They’re terrorizing people and ruining lives,” Brown said. “I’m wondering where are the parents, a 14-year-old.”
Tavashane Brown was luckier than many victims because she not only escaped the ordeal without injury but also got her car back. The 14-year-old who robbed her at gunpoint was arrested, but this was hardly a one-off incident. Police said he is also linked to 10 other carjackings and robberies in the month of January. One of his crimes was the carjacking of an off-duty Chicago police officer. At the age of 14 he already has 11 referrals to juvenile court.
That makes Ms. Brown’s question to reporters all the more pertinent. Where are the parents of this child? Does he ever go home at night or have they just abandoned him to the streets and the gangs?
As we discussed previously when covering this subject, the city has rendered itself nearly helpless in this situation. You may be wondering how a kid of that age could already have been in and out of juvenile court nearly a dozen times. It’s because of a 2016 “criminal justice reform” law that made it virtually impossible to transfer suspects under the age of 16 to adult court.
This boy is obviously a lost cause at this point, but he’s a desirable catch for Chicago’s gangs. Until he turns 16, gang leaders can send him out with a gun every night to rob as many cars as he can. He knows that he’ll get a scolding from a judge and be back on the streets so fast it would make your head spin. And once he becomes an adult, his record will be sealed.
Here’s the kicker to the story. When Tavashane Brown was robbed, her handgun was in her purse. The weapon was also recovered later, but not until the boy had used it in multiple armed robberies. The two scenarios that the victim dreads are on her mind, even though they thankfully didn’t come to pass. One is that the boy could have killed someone with her own weapon. The other is that she could have used her legally owned and registered firearm to defend herself during the carjacking and ended up killing the thief. Then she would have the death of a 14-year-old boy on her conscience for the rest of her life.
Chicago now has a “carjacking task force” working on this problem, but as with many cities these days, the force is undermanned and underfunded. Something has to be done soon, though, and it’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s responsibility to come up with a solution. The gang violence in Chicago has long since passed epidemic proportions.