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

Carjackings are on the rise in our nation’s capital.

Leaders in the District have their hands tied trying to find a solution.

Right now, the issue is glaring. Carjackings are up 104% in D.C., and police say that volume is overwhelming.

Alarming statistics show more than 800 have occurred so far in 2023, compared to a little over 400 at the same time in 2022.

Lieutenant Scott Dowling of the Metropolitan Police Department is in charge of the D.C. carjacking task force.

Dowling told FOX 5 that there are often a lot of repeat offenders. 

"For juveniles, specifically, it depends on what their record is and if they’re going to get detained or not, and if it’s their first or second offense, they won’t get detained, and they’re out there. If they choose to do it again, that’s why they choose to do it."

D.C. police data reveals that 66% of arrests involve juveniles.


Boys ages 12 to 15 arrested for assaulting, carjacking ride-hail driver in Capitol Hill: police

Authorities have arrested three boys they say assaulted and carjacked a ride-hail driver in D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood over the weekend.

There have been 145 arrests so far in 2023 compared to 114 in 2022.

When the lieutenant interviews suspects, he says that they tell him they do it "mostly for fun." 

"They just do it. It’s a thing," he said. "They’re going out with groups of their friends and that’s what they’re doing."

What the kids think is a game can easily turn deadly.

"Two juveniles have died, one was shot and killed trying to carjack someone, and another one died in a car accident in a carjacked car," Dowling said. "A 13-year-old got shot and killed, and a 15-year-old died in a car accident. So, it’s a serious business."

Dowling explained that teens often use stolen vehicles to commit other crimes, and sometimes they use them just for a ride home.

Cars are often recovered 20 minutes away from where the suspect lives.

The current D.C. law makes it difficult to hold young people accountable for their actions. The lieutenant believes that a lot of people are getting away with the crime because not every case is closed. 

"We’re doing the best we can to bring them to justice," he said.

The department wants to remind everyone to stay alert and keep their head on a swivel when they're out and about.