MEMPHIS, Tenn.– New numbers released by Memphis Police show carjackings are on the rise compared to this time last year, but police say while reports have gone up, so are arrests.
The numbers show a 45 percent increase in carjackings with 243 reported in 2022 so far in comparison to 161 carjackings around this time last year.
Memphis Police Lieutenant Jimmy Lewis, head of the Violent Crimes Unit, believes one of the reasons carjackings happen is because the crooks need transportation to commit other crimes.
These crimes are happening around businesses and in neighborhoods.
“Like in the business corridors what we’re seeing is the suspects will approach and ask for transportation, ask to use a cell phone, ask can they borrow money. They’re using those ruses to get close to the victim and at that point is when the carjacking occurs,” Lewis said.
In a recent case, police say a man and two juveniles targeted pastor Autura Eason-Williams by following her then carjacking and shooting her in her driveway.
Two 15-year-olds have been charged. A 20-year-old is also looking at charges following Eason-William’s death.
“What we’re seeing in residential areas is more of people are being approached in their driveways or they’re being blocked in on their residential streets by two or more vehicles of suspects,” Lewis said.
His advice to protect yourself is to stay in well-lit areas, try to avoid being out alone, and stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
“Staying off your cellphone is a huge key. We’ve had numerous reports of people who were on their cellphones where the gas is being pumped or on their cellphones sitting in front of a business when they were approached and had no idea that no one was even approaching them,” Lewis said.
Lewis said Memphis Police is also working with state and federal prosecutors to make sure those committing the crimes are held accountable.
These numbers show a breakdown over the last three years of the number of arrests of adults and juveniles for the crime.
MPD said carjacking is a crime that falls under the new Truth in Sentencing law so those convicted will now serve 85 percent to 100 percent of their sentence.