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'It Is A Community Epidemic': Chicago Carjacking Crisis Gets The Attention Of FBI And Federal Lawmakers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- You could say it's all hands on deck.

The feds and local officials alike are trying to stop carjackings. It underscores just how serious carjacking is across the Chicago area. And politicians are hearing from scared constituents.

CBS 2's Jim Williams reports U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush is hosting a town hall meeting Monday night.

From the streets of Chicago, Congressman Bobby Rush has heard the same question repeatedly:

"Is there anything you can do?"

Can he do anything about Chicago's carjacking epidemic? Congressman Rush is hosting a virtual town hall meeting Monday night. He's invited Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, along with Chicago's top feds: U.S. Attorney John Lausch and FBI special agent in charge Emmerson Buie.

They're brainstorming, searching for solutions.

"The police can't do this. We must all do this together because it is a community epidemic," Rush said.

And it's an epidemic spreading throughout the Chicago area: city and suburbs alike.

Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell Davis attended a meeting last week hosted by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Officials from 30 suburban towns vowed to share strategies, including efforts to reach out to the families of troubled teenagers who are often behind many of the carjackings.

"Quite often the offenders are coming from the suburbs and going to the city and vice versa," said Davis. "It's about providing opportunities and being proactive for these young folks that are out there, committing these crimes, because quite often the same groups of people are doing them over and over again."

Two weeks ago, CBS 2 was the first to report on the volunteers manning gas stations, hoping to protect Chicagoans from carjackers. Since then, organizer Steven DeJoie said the effort has grown dramatically.

"In Bronzeville, Englewood, South Shore, Roseland," DeJoie said. "All economic levels and political backgrounds, social background are gathering to say it's time for this to stop and enough is enough."

DeJoie said he has heard from grocery stores, community groups and even from churches asking if the volunteers can stand guard there too.

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