By Thomas Perumean | WWL Radio | November 12, 2020
The Metropolitan Crime Commission reports in October of last year there were 3 carjackings.
This year there were 32.
An increase of 106%.
Carjackers are getting more frequent, more brazen.
On Monday a woman, putting her son in a car seat, was carjacked at gunpoint.
Why are these crime numbers skyrocketing?
WWL talked with Loyola Professor Emeritus George Capowich, who just happens to be a Criminologist and former police officer.
“Carjacking is a description of the behavior, but it’s really just an armed, violent robbery,” Capowich says.
Capowich says carjacking is a seasonal crime:
“Summer and Fall are a time when we see an increase,” he continues. “So in that respect I guess I’m not surprised. But I would couch it in terms of violent crime overall.”
And New Orleans is in the midst of a violent crime epidemic.
Gun crimes and related injuries and killings are way up over the previous year, despite being in pandemic.
Capowich says this is no time to be absent minded about your surroundings:
“Pay attention, keep your doors locked when you’re driving through town, so [your car’s] not easily accessible if somebody tries to open your door, you’ve got a chance to accelerate and get out of the area.”
Capowich says making a getaway is the best way to keep a potential carjacker from getting to you.
“If you have a place to turn, a driveway, another side street, take it, try to go somewhere where there are people, so if there’s a hotel around drive into the entrance. There’s going to be other cars, cabs, hotel staff, so you can somewhere that is safer.”
Why are carjackings taking place?
Believe it or not, carjackers are not professional car thieves:
“It’s for transportation, spur of the moment, it’s an opportunity crime for that respect,” Capowich says. “Maybe 70-or-80% are for joy rides, for use in another crime, get something of value if you steal a car you may steal a person’s wallet or their purse.”