The Chicago Police Department (CPD) recently released some new stats on crime, showing that while robbery and burglary were down in 2020, carjackings in Chicago are on a record-setting pace.

NBC-5 Chicago:

More than 1,400 carjackings were reported across Chicago in all of 2020, which is more than double 2019's number and the highest since 2001. The city is on pace to see 1,800 carjackings this year, according to police.

NBC-5 Chicago's story goes on to talk about the CPD putting together task forces throughout the city, working with federal authorities, and seeking help from youth outreach organizations all the way down to the average person on the street. They also make note of the difficulties in identifying suspects due to the fact that pretty much everyone is wearing a mask these days.

It's not just a Chicago problem, either. Just Google "carjacking problem," and you'll be treated to a whole slew of reports from cities across the nation. ABC News, in a piece that takes a look at why carjacking is skyrocketing in America, has a couple of examples:

Minneapolis police report that carjackings there have shot up 537% this year. Carjacking calls to 911 in New Orleans are up 126%,68% in New York, 36% in Los Angeles and 34% in Philadelphia.

Another problem facing the police and others who want to get this problem stopped, or at least slowed down is that COVID-19 not only shut down schools and after school programs, it also shut down many juvenile detention sites across the country.

ABC News:

Minneapolis Police Commander Charlie Adams told ABC News that "80% of our carjackings and robberies are being done by juveniles, ages from 9 up to 17. Some of these have been involved in 10 or more robberies. They're not being held," he noted.

So, what do we do about the carjacking phenomenon? Well, here in Illinois, you've got a lawmaker, Democratic State Representative Marcus Evans Jr., who has introduced House Bill 3531 (HB3531). What would HB3531 do to help stop the carjacking epidemic?

It would ban the sale of violent video games in Illinois, in particular the videogame franchise "Grand Theft Auto." According to the language in the bill, this ban would not just apply to minors, it would cover anyone of any age who wanted to buy a "violent videogame."

For those who think that videogames cause players to want to emulate the violent behavior they see in the games, this would seem like a prudent move. Those who think this is much ado about absolutely nothing are probably shaking their heads over this idea.  I would encourage you to take a few minutes to read some studies about the links between videogaming and violent behavior. I think you'll see that there is still a massive disagreement between studies about whether there is a cause and effect or whether the idea is completely overblown.

 

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