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Auto crimes skyrocket in DC, Maryland and Virginia, data shows

Home{ }surveillance cameras capture a carjacking in Prince George's County. (7News){p}{/p}
Home surveillance cameras capture a carjacking in Prince George's County. (7News)

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Phil Petrilli woke up just in time to watch his home security camera capture his car being stolen from in front of his house.

“You feel super violated and you do, you feel insecure,” Petrilli said.

Petrilli's car is among the 20 stolen on average each day in Montgomery County, according to police records. Petrilli said he watched the thieves throw his EZ-Pass into the street as they drove toward the D.C. line.

READ | After being carjacked at gunpoint, DC family uses Apple AirTag to track down the vehicle

“We just heard this banging and my wife said ‘Babe get up I heard something.’ And when we got to the front door that’s when I heard my daughter screaming and she’s screaming ‘Daddy, daddy, daddy!’ It’s a sound that I’ll never forget,” Prince George’s County resident Daniel Ray told the 7 News I-Team.

Ray's daughter's car is among more than 2,600 stolen from Prince George's County this year through April 25, according to county police reports reviewed by 7News. Police records show 140 car thefts committed at gunpoint.

"My daughter could've been shot. I could've been planning a funeral," Ray told 7News.

What Ray and Petrilli describe are personal details from just two of more than 100,000 auto crimes committed in the DMV since 2021, according to police records. These crimes include armed carjacking, auto theft and theft from a vehicle. Police records show home driveways, residential streets, parking lots and car dealerships among the most common locations auto crimes are committed in Washington D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. In D.C., auto theft is on pace to be 107% of what it was in 2022. In Prince George’s County, police data shows auto theft 190% above last year’s pace.

Mapping auto crime using police data shows car theft clustering near Maryland’s border in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

ALSO READ | Two 15-year-olds charged for armed carjacking in Prince George's County, police say

D.C. Police told 7News that stolen car GPS data often shows cars stolen in Maryland driven to D.C.

“Every officer is on the lookout for stolen vehicles,” MPD Captain Jeff Cop said.

READ THIS | Montgomery County Police arrest two teens in Germantown carjacking

Cop leads Washington D.C.’s auto theft task force.

“There’s all kinds of frustrations I know. All I can say is we do the absolute best we can. Our detectives are working hard. We’re working with our regional partners,” Cop said.

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