After yearslong surge, carjackings fall 46% in DC

U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves announces carjackings have decreased in the District since last year. (WTOP/Shayna Estulin)

The numbers of carjackings in the District is going down after a yearslong surge.

U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves said that in June of this year compared to June of 2023, carjackings fell 78%, from 140 to 31. Year to date, Graves said there has been a 46% drop, with over 200 fewer carjackings in 2024 compared to the same time in 2023.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Graves said the reduction is due in part to more arrests and convictions, a new MPD carjacking task force formed in 2021 and investigative tools that make it easier to locate and convict suspects, such as car and cellphone data.

“We influence those trend lines, we don’t control them. We’re depending on a lot of things,” Graves said. “A lot of people are doing really good work, both inside and outside of the criminal justice system, from traditional prosecution, to interruption, to education and services,” he said.

Most of those arrested are people under the age of 18.

According to MPD data, since Jan. 1, 2023, there have been 249 carjacking arrests. Sixty-two percent of those arrested have been juveniles.

Graves said his office found that it’s a relatively small pool of individuals who have been fueling the dramatic rise in carjackings that began in 2020.

He highlighted prosecutions in the last year, which include a federal indictment charging a single crew with orchestrating 33 carjackings, including one where someone died, and multiple convictions resulting in sentences of 10 years of more.

Graves voiced frustration, though, that despite his office’s efforts to secure long prison sentences for repeat and violent offenders, because of the Youth Rehabilitation Act, judges can give sentences below the mandatory minimum, even to those on their second or third carjacking offense.

Still, he said he wants young people to know that people are going to jail for many years, and cars aren’t free.

“We are doing everything we can to try and educate the relatively limited number of juveniles who would even consider doing this that there’s a really big consequence here and this is something they don’t want to do,” he said.

Overall in the District, violent crime has fallen 30% year over year and homicides are down 27%.

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Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

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