Lightfoot says carjacking spikes linked to kids feeling unloved

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

On Saturday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke to adolescents between the ages of 14 and 24 at the Harold Washington Library during a special town hall meeting addressing safety efforts in specific regions of Chicago.

The special town hall meetings to address safety within the city began right after Lori Lightfoot’s appointed Chicago Film Office Director, Kwame Amoaku was brutally attacked in front of his house by “three kids” who also robbed him and stole his car. Amoaku was appointed by Mayor Lightfoot to head the city’s film promotion agency in July 2019. Prior to that, Amoaku worked as Location Manager for Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire from 2014 to 2018 and has been on many lines of the call sheet earning dozens of acting, directing, and producing credits throughout his career.

In a Facebook post Amoaku shared that he would be alright, saying, “Thanks to all who have reached out. I’m in the ICU. I’m going to be ok.”

Amoaku’s family have organized a Meal Train fundraiser, designed to provide meals for people in need, has been established to help Amoaku as he recovers.

It might feel like crime is at an all time high in Chicago, but according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department, most crimes numbers are actually down. Homicides are down almost 7% compared to this time last year, with 128 people killed through the end of March, according to the latest police data. The number of people shot, 593, is down 15%. Burglaries are down 22% compared to that of last year, aggravated batteries are down 7%, and sexual assaults are down 2%. Carjackings, however, are on the rise by 3% and about 57% of carjacking arrests are juvenile offenders. 

Lightfoot wanted to reach out to that 57% and told a group of adolescents that, “There are too many young people in this room that feel unloved, and we need to change that if we are going to change the trajectory of their lives,” the mayor said at the special town hall meeting.

Lightfoot in February said the city’s carjacking spikes were linked to remote learning, during the pandemic.  “We started seeing this rise in cases in 2020,” Lightfoot said. “And I’ll be frank and say in Chicago there was a correlation we believe between remote learning and the rise in carjackings.”

The Mayor has received quite a bit of backlash online:

Disgruntled Chicagoans are asking, “does this mean we should hug a carjacker?”

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