Policy expert says carjackings in Illinois a symptom of pandemic


Share post:

(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on the effect justice reforms have on public safety, including one expert who said a rise in carjackings was a result of the pandemic.

The Senate Joint Public Safety and Criminal Law Committee’s hearing dealt with sentencing laws, reducing the Illinois prison population, and the spike in carjackings in Chicago, Peoria and other downstate communities.

Kathy Saltmarsh, executive director of the Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, or SPAC, said carjackings are a result of the pandemic. She said tough sentencing for those responsible is the wrong approach.

“Because you have implemented a policy that generates more recidivism,” Saltmarsh said. “It is entirely probable that once COVID subsides and things get back to normal, that carjackings will go down.”

Stephanie Coleman with the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law said the best way to address juvenile carjackers is to increase funding for violence reduction programs, and use age-appropriate interventions as opposed to adult punishment.

The surge in carjackings may lead to a rise in concealed carry gun permits statewide. FOID applications for 2020 boomed in Illinois, with over 341,000 applications. For concealed carry permits, 93,893 applications were received.

The historically low state prison population, at around 28,000 was another topic addressed. Saltmarsh urged lawmakers to stay the course.

“Do we want to keep it low?” Saltmarsh said. “Do we want to take this moment to hit pause and really look at how we use prison as opposed to other alternatives? I would suggest that’s something worthy of your consideration.”

State Sen. Steve McClure said he suspects a number of people who should be in prison are out committing new crimes.

“The other issue to study that is the fact we don’t know how many people are actually committing these crimes, because most people, particularly in shooting cases which is a huge problem right now, they don’t get caught,” McClure said. “We have to catch these people, because if they feel like they not going to get caught, then, of course, there’s no real fear of any punishment or anything else, so the punishment is irrelevant.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related articles

Bourbonnais Motorcyclist Dead after crash Tuesday tossed man 50 feet from Bike  

BOURBONNAIS - A local man has died after his motorcycle crashed last night. According to reports it happened on Route...

Bradley Gas Station robbed at Gunpoint Wednesday  

BRADLEY - A local gas station was reportedly robbed at gunpoint early this morning. According to Bradley Police it happened...

Man dead after attempting to pass John Deere pulling grain on Route 45 

CHICAGO - A man is dead after allegedly attempted to pass a tractor in his vehicle on Route 45...

Student killed in homicide on campus at Purdue University, victim, suspect roommates  

WEST LAFAYETTE - Police have arrested a suspect after an early morning call reported a homicide at Purdue University. According...