The boy, who, like his classmates, did not want to be identified, stated that he had heard of street boys stealing cars in the early days. He said that young people began to do it. They started by jumping into cars left unattended and driving around in them. Social media started to show videos of these rides around the town.
Before long, “carjacking became a sport,” said one community organizer. “A big bandwagon,” said another.
“A thrill, almost like a fad,” Warees Majeed said. “When you don’t have activities in their communities, everything’s shut down, young people are going to find a way to entertain themselves. It’s recreation, that’s what it is.”
It is not a new idea that crime goes in and out fashion. In the early 2000s, some young people in Washington began stealing cars, calling themselves “U.U. Boys” after the criminal charge of “unauthorized use of a vehicle.” Then, auto thefts began dropping precipitously, said Eduardo Ferrer, the policy director of the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, and cellphone snatching began to proliferate.
“It has been interesting over the course of my career to watch the mix of crime shift without seeming explanation,” Professor Ferrer said. “A number of these are crimes of opportunity, folks looking for that kind of low-hanging fruit.”
He said that it was clear that the long-term effects of the traumatic and solitary pandemic years on adolescents’ development cannot be overstated. Though schools are back to in-person learning and recreation centers are reopening, that impact — and the rise in carjackings — has not simply gone away.
“I don’t think people are prepared for how much we are going to have to dig out and heal from the pandemic,” Professor Ferrer said.
Source: NY Times