Carjackings may be on the rise in Chicago, but one intended victim managed to turn the tables on his attacker early Monday morning; leaving the armed robber while he managed to escape unharmed.
Authorities in the Windy City say the incident took place just before 1:30 Monday morning in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood as the armed citizen was sitting in his car.
The man was in his car in the 5500 block of West Crystal Street when the carjacker fired at him around 1:25 a.m., Chicago police said.
The man returned fire and hit the carjacker in the chest, police said. He was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in critical condition. His gun was recovered at the scene.
We don’t have a lot of information about this defensive gun use, but we do know that carjacking attempts like this are becoming more common; not only in terms of the numbers of carjackings taking place, but the willingness of the carjackers to use their illicitly-acquired firearms against their intended victims. In fact, this morning’s carjacking attempt sounds very similar to another incident that took place early Saturday morning, albeit with one very big difference: the victims on Saturday weren’t able to fight back.
Chicago police said a 24-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were sitting inside a vehicle around 5 a.m. near Birchwood Avenue and Ridge Boulevard in Rogers Park when an unknown man walked up and started shooting into the car.
Small amounts of broken glass on the street remain at the scene.
“The gunshot went through the windshield,” said a neighbor who did not wish to be identified.
Gunfire, the neighbor says, woke from his sleep.
“We heard one gunshot, so when we came down, we heard from the officer that the woman was shot in the face,” the man said.
Police said the woman suffered multiple gunshot wounds and is in critical condition. The wounded male is reportedly in good condition.
Authorities haven’t made an arrest in Saturday’s shootings, which is sadly par for the course. Earlier this month the Chicago PD claimed that it had made more than 770 arrests for “carjacking,” before later clarifying that those numbers also include arrests for criminal trespass to a vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle. When NBC Chicago dug deeper into the statistics, they found that shockingly few carjackings are actually leading to an arrest.
Looking at vehicular hijackings alone, the city’s own crime data shows that from Jan. 1 through July 24, Chicago saw 942 of those crimes, an average of more than four a day. Just 57 of those cases have resulted in an arrest, according to city data.
On the other charges, the data shows 310 cases of criminal trespass to a vehicle so far this year, with just 47 arrests. And of the 7,567 cases of motor vehicle thefts this year, Chicago police have made arrests in 176 of those incidents, according to the city’s own figures.
For all three crimes the department says it groups together as carjacking arrests, that’s a clearance rate of just 3.1% for incidents that have occurred so far this year.
Even if we exclude the arrests for stolen vehicles and criminal trespass to a vehicle, the clearance rate for vehicular carjackings is right around 5%. Chicago criminals aren’t particularly concerned about facing charges for trying to rob someone of their car and belongings at gunpoint, and with good reason. The vast majority of the time these offenders are getting away with it. Every now and then, however, a carjacker will pick the wrong victim; one who can and will fight back. That was the case in the city’s Austin neighborhood this morning, and I hope that this unnamed armed citizen will inspire other Chicagoans to g through all of the rigamarole required by the city and state in order for them to exercise their own right to armed self-defense.