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Cook County Sheriff's Data Reveal Most Popular Cars Targeted By Carjackers, Most Common Methods

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 1,800 people were victims of carjackings in Chicago last year, but the crisis is not only in the city.

Suburban Cook County is also dealing with a spike in thefts and carjackings.

So we wanted to know - are certain cars more likely to be targeted? CBS 2's Tara Molina looked at the county data for answers.

It turns out Jeep is one of the top makes targeted, with the top model targeted being the Grand Cherokee.

The purpose here is not to worry anyone, but to inform - since there is information available about how you can best protect yourself.

Chances are you've noticed that we have investigated the spiking crime for years now at CBS 2, as the Cook County Sheriff's office continues to collect data not only meant to stop those driving the crisis, but also to inform those behind the wheel.

"As we've accumulated more data and as we've made more arrests and as we've done more interviews, we're becoming much, much more knowledgeable on what they're up to, how they're doing it," said county Sheriff tom Dart.

For example, Dart specified the most common day and time for carjackings?

"It's Sunday nights and Saturday nights," he said.

The trends don't stop there.

"They're looking for the fastest cars they can get their hands on," Dart said.

Carjacking Incidents By Type

The data show some of the most common cars targeted are sedans and sport-utility vehicles, which respectively represent 47.72 percent and 41.9 percent of all carjacked vehicles. Other types of cars only make up single-digit percentages.

Specifically, Toyota Camrys are most popular – accounting for 3.61 percent of all carjacked vehicles. Sheriff Dart said that is because they are the number one car on the road.

Carjacking Incidents By Model

Next come Grand Cherokees at 2.97 percent. Jeeps are targeted for another reason, Dart said.

"There's certain variations of those that go faster than other ones, and there seems to be a targeting of that," Dart said.

Nissan Altimas, Honda Accords, Chevrolet Malibus, and Dodge Chargers round out the top six.

We asked if time of year or weather play a role in the kind of vehicles targeted. Dart said no solid information on that yet - but he says carjackers
"do look at those type of things."

As to the method breakdown, most carjackings involve an ambush. A total of 48.43 percent are ambushes on foot, and 21.96 percent are an ambush from another vehicle. Meanwhile, 10.33 percent of carjackings target rideshares, and 6.51 percent are ambushes gas stations.

Carjacking Incidents By Method

"In suburban Cook County, for example, we receive more carjackings at gas stations," Dart said.

Dart said carjackers' motives vary, but for those who are doing it for thrills are the most dangerous.

"For those ones that are doing it for their twisted little thrill they're getting out of it, that's harder to defend against because you don't know when that's going to pop up," he said.

But Dart said one thing is common through every interview, everywhere, and it's something every driver should know right now. That is that people need to be aware and engaged.

"They would absolutely look to see if people were on their phones, because if you're on your phone, you're not paying attention to anything, and then a person is on you within seconds and all you can do at that point is get out of your car," Dart said.

That's why Sheriff Dart says the best thing you can do, on the roads, is keep your head on a swivel. You should stay alert and aware of other people and drivers around you, and make sure, for example, that no one has boxed you in.

"I think a lot of this is going to come down to people being aware that we're in a different time now," Dart said.

Based on the numbers, we've heard we're off to a good start in 2022 when it comes to these crimes.

The following is a breakdown of carjacking incidents and recoveries. The data combine Chicago and suburban Cook County.

-1,532 incidents in 2020
-1,482 carjackings, 50 attempted carjackings.
- 41% of vehicles recovered
-Average recovery time was 190.5 hours

-2,100 incidents in 2021
-2,025 carjackings,75 attempted carjackings.
-69% of vehicles recovered.
-Average recovery time was 100.1 hours

-135 incidents through 1/24/2022
-135 carjackings, no attempted carjackings
-77% of vehicles have been recovered
-Average recovery time is 107.4 hours.

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