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While car thefts tripled in Baltimore City in 2023, carjackings tick down

While car thefts tripled in Baltimore City in 2023, carjackings tick down
While car thefts tripled in Baltimore City in 2023, carjackings tick down 01:55

BALTIMORE -- Local police departments are reporting doubling and, in some cases, tripling rates of car thefts in 2023 as the year draws to a close.

Car thefts nationwide skyrocketed in 2023, largely due to a social media trend exposing how vulnerable certain Hyundai and Kia models are to steal.

A Baltimore County Police sergeant showed WJZ in April a car that was stolen by thieves using a USB cable.

"It's everywhere. And, it's nationwide. It's not just local to Baltimore," Sgt. Steven Sunderland said.

Baltimore City has exceeded 10,000 car thefts on the year, according to Baltimore Police Department data as of Dec. 16, a staggering 215% increase compared to 2022.

Baltimore County Police report 4,383 car thefts in 2023 as of Tuesday, a 184% increase from 2022.

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Anne Arundel County Police report 1,836 car thefts, a 111% increase from last year.

The spike has caused some jurisdictions like Baltimore City to sue the car manufacturers on a public nuisance claim. The automakers have offered software updates to the affected cars. Local police departments have held wheel lock giveaways to drivers, as well.

Detectives have told WJZ most of the thieves are under 18.

"The young kids today, totally different from the kids in my time," John Gutkoska of Baltimore County told WJZ this month.

Carjackings have decreased in Baltimore City by 16% in 2022, according to Baltimore Police data earlier this month. But, carjackings in Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County have increased.

Baltimore County Police arrested two 18-year-olds this month in connection to a series of attempted carjackings and armed carjackings in Dundalk, including three in one night.

"Check in with your kids. See where they are, because you never know what your children may be entangled with because they have people out here peer-pressuring them into things and doing things that they know they weren't taught or raised that way," Robert Lunn , from Baltimore County, told WJZ at the time. "It's not like they watched you all day long—they're just picking at random."

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