CHICAGO (CBS) – If a car drives up next to you or behind you, or cuts you off, you will most likely be alarmed these days, as the car theft crisis is terrorizing drivers across the city.
How bad is it? The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said there were an average of five car thefts each day.
There is even a special task force to stop car theft. Joe Donlan of CBS 2 recently traveled with them to see how it works, or works, and whether the city can do more.
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For Chicago Task Force on Car Hijackingthe night began with a roll call at Sheriff Cook’s command post in the Austin community.
Sheriff Police Sergeant. Phil Mackie stressed that security is number one, and advised using a helicopter to the best advantage of the task force.
“Be safe,” were the words of farewell when the task force left, and those words echoed the first night.
A car tracked by the task force crashed into a fence on 44th Street and Wales in the Fuller Park area. There were shots, three people were arrested, and this helicopter was lifted into the air.
A total of five guns were found in the car, including a fully automatic one.
“It’s also a big problem because they’re inaccurate, so you’re looking at 50 rounds coming down in seconds,” said Sheriff’s Police Lt. Patrick Donavan.
Donlan noted to Cook County Sheriff Tom Darth that, having visible, notable resources such as helicopters, car hijackers know the police are coming for them. And yet, the crimes continue.
“And that will continue until we get them soon,” Darth said.
Donlon: “It’s every night.”
dart: “Oh, yes, yes. I mean, numbers are numbers – and they’re awful. For every one we get, more and more of them come.”
Darth says there is one thing that will change the game in the problem of car theft that we see on the streets of Chicago – and it falls on the manufacturers.
“With tracking, we could bring that hue almost to an end,” Darth said.
Most cars made since 2015 have tracking devices. But not all companies cooperate with law enforcement in case of car theft or theft.
Dart supports Illinois federal laws and federal laws that require car manfacture3rs staff to have a 24-hour tracking center staff.
“You’re trying to tell me that these billion-dollar corporations can’t hire people to work at the call center to investigate what is probably the biggest crime in the country – it annoys everyone; and scares people to death if they don’t “Don’t go to the cities anymore and are afraid to leave the house – and they can’t build a call center?” Said Darth. “Come on. It’s rubbish.”
Returning to the road with the task force, there was a report of a newly stolen car. Lt. Donavan, who has spent 24 years in the country, said the stolen car was backed by secret forces and helicopters.
Two years ago, Donavan took a task with a task force to solve a problem that is only getting worse.
“We need to try different ways,” Donavan said.
He says it’s like fishing – it takes patience, perseverance and an understanding that some suspects will slip off the hook.
But the suspect in the theft of this newly stolen car did not. Officers chased the stolen car from Dan Ryan Highway to Highway 57, where they stopped and arrested the driver – and found the car.
But a few minutes later a new call was received about the theft of the car. North of the Austin community on the West Side, four teenagers with guns stole a gray Dodge Charger with a partial number “AM”.
“They’re probably going to use this car for some kind of crime or travel,” Donavan said. “These are just the guys we want to get off the streets.”
At this point, the officers could only hope that the car would appear on the license plate reader. Chances are, you drove past one of them without knowing it – hundreds are located all over the city and they are very important.
License plate readers are a high-tech tool that reads license plates and alerts police to stolen or hijacked cars. The officer of the operative group agreed that it would be almost impossible to track down thieves without license plates.
In this case, of course, there was a blow. One reader picked up a stolen Dodge car on Lower Wacker Drive.
So that’s where the task force headed, using lights and sirens to get through the transport and get to the city center as quickly as possible.
It took about half an hour for the Dodge Charger to appear on the license plate reader.
“In half an hour you can be sure that the four armed guys in the city center have not come up with anything good,” Donavan said.
When the license plate reader showed Dodge, he was moving east on Lower Wacker Drive on State Street. Chicago police finally looked at the car, and a task force approached – when the CPD decided to turn off the plug.
Donlon: – Did you have to cancel the chase?
Donavan: “Yeah, too dangerous. Too crowded here. Don’t take any chances.”
But that doesn’t mean they gave up.
“Now we are waiting. We have three minutes until the helicopter arrives. They will be looking for an unstable ride, a car that matches the description – see if it hits license plate readers or other ground-based devices,” Donavan said. “It will appear somewhere, and when it appears, we will be there.”
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At the moment, the task force has moved to two new car thefts – both on the west side of the city. One of them illustrated how difficult it is to catch suspects.
“The victim said she was tracking her mobile phone,” Donavan said. The cell phone was tracked to the place where the Chicago police found it. ”
But the phone was neither with the car nor with the kidnappers. He was motionless.
Donlon: “So they knew they’d throw the phone out of the car.”
Donavan: “They did. They knew the police would probably be tracking the phone.”
Sheriff Darth joined Donlan and the task force for part of the night. Donlan noted that people are likely to monitor the work of the task force and wonder why the authorities are not doing more to stop car thefts.
“They have every reason to ask this question. It should be aimed at carmakers – clean and simple,” Darth said. “On the part of law enforcement, I urge people to find something other than what we could do, which we are not doing now.”
In this case, it is a non-stop game of cat and mouse, which ended after midnight. But another change was to take place, for the pursuit of the needle in the haystack never ends.
But Lieutenant Donavan said he was not disappointed that the task force did not catch anyone that night.
“No, because I think we’ve held back a lot of people,” he said. “They saw us here. They saw us here. You know we lost a couple of guys, but they know we’re on them. You know, we had to make these four gunmen run away. They got scared. And that’s what we want We want them to know that we are here and we will hunt for you. ”
Four teenagers who found their way downtown in this Dodge really escaped. The Dodge they were in turned up the next day 10 blocks from where they had taken it north of Austin.
Sheriff Darth told us that suspects often change cars and drivers, making it difficult to prosecute – even if they catch them.