Carjacking down in DC as officials vow to prosecute juvenile offenders as adults

Carjackings are down 78% across the District, according to U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves. 

He says there were 31 carjackings in the District last month compared to 140 carjackings in June 2023. Graves blames juveniles for "turbocharging" the rate of carjackings and vows to continue to charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

"We will continue to prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds engaged in similar conduct as adults," Graves said. "None of us came to our roles wanting to prosecute juveniles as adults. But given what we saw in the last couple of years, if we want to continue to reverse the carjacking trend we have to prosecute as adults the juveniles who are turbocharging it."

Graves said a supermajority of individuals arrested for carjacking are juveniles. He has instructed career supervisors at the U.S. Attorney's Office to strongly consider charging 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when they are involved in a series of armed carjackings. Right now, Graves says, there are 11 juveniles charged as adults for armed robberies and carjackings in DC Superior Court.

READ MORE: Rise in DC carjackings linked to repeat juvenile offenders, police data shows

Graves believes the recent prosecutions serve as a deterrent for would-be offenders. 

"Anyone telling our youth that carjacking is not a big deal and it's a way to get free cars is lying to them. Our office's prosecutions from last year alone establish that carjacking doesn't give you a free car, it gives you a fast pass to jail. Those considering committing carjacking will receive a lengthy sentence like these defendants did."