WASHINGTON (TND) — Spikes in carjackings and auto thefts are rocking communities across the country. The perpetrators are getting younger and younger.
According to statistics compiled by D.C. Metropolitan Police, 65% of carjacking arrests in the nation’s capitol involve juveniles. The problem is getting so bad Congress held a briefing to include tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
This included telling people to give space between their car and the car in front of them when they pull up to a stop sign or a stoplight so they can make an evasive maneuver if they have to,” recounted Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., during an interview with Just the News.
In Las Vegas, a 17-year-old driving a stolen car hit and killed a bicyclist. Disturbing video taken by a passenger in the car led detectives to conclude it was intentional.
The victim, 64-year-old Andreas Probst was a retired police chief.
I’m not going to say this is the most egregious I’ve ever seen but it’s certainly in the top 5 or 10 percent,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.
Minors are also increasingly stealing cars in Baltimore. That’s where an 11-year-old has been caught 17 times for car thefts and burglaries and has yet to face a single charge.
A Maryland law passed last year prohibits kids under 13-year-old from facing criminal charges in most cases. The new state law in line with recent nationwide criminal justice reform trends that critics call soft-on-crime.
“Juveniles feel that they’re not going to get into any trouble and so they can be arrested for driving a stolen vehicle or for even a carjacking and not be even detained pending trial, just be released to their parents," explained Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund.
Victims of crime are starting to push back on these laws, causing some local and state leaders to begin to reconsider the approach.