Washington DC

Uptick in DC Carjackings Likely Linked to Pandemic, Police Say

The number of carjackings in DC has spiked since the start of the pandemic

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Children as young as 13 years old are among the suspects involved in a growing number of carjackings in D.C., and police believe the crimes involving teens spiked during the pandemic.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, there have been 41 carjackings so far this year. In 66 of those cases, the suspects were armed.

Police have arrested three teens this year for carjacking, the oldest was 16 and the youngest was 13, police said.

"They’re very young," Sgt. Valkyrie Barnes said.

Barnes is part of D.C.'s carjacking task force. She said the spike in carjackings appears to be linked to the start of the pandemic.

There were an average of about 13 carjackings a month in D.C. from 2018 to May 2020, according to police data. Then, from June 2020 to now, there have been an average of nearly 40 carjackings a month.

"We saw a drastic, just, drop and closure of, you know, Department of Parks and Recs, their sports programs, schools went virtual. You know, … legal guardians are trying to do their best to provide some level of supervision while also trying to make ends meet," Barnes said.

The latest teen to be accused of carjacking is a 15-year-old boy who was charged in a string of eight carjackings from Christmas Day onward.

"One of these offenses actually involved a woman who was walking into church, or had parked her vehicle, was getting ready to go to church, and that was New Year's Day," Barnes said.

The 15-year-old suspect was also arrested on Jan. 5 for a carjacking in Prince George's County, Maryland.

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