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Euclid police preach situational awareness after recent rash of carjackings

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Posted at 5:32 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 18:39:12-04

EUCLID, Ohio — The Euclid Police Department is encouraging residents to maintain a heightened level of situational awareness after a recent rash of carjackings the past two weeks have involved armed suspects and unsuspecting or distracted victims.

Over the past week, Euclid Police have reported three carjackings in neighborhoods on the city’s eastern edge, including the area of Sidney Drive, Brush Avenue and Tungsten Road. Last weekend, an attempted carjacking occurred on East 212th Street near North Lakeland Boulevard.

Leamon Gibson is gravely concerned for the safety of his elderly grandmother, who has lived off Brush Ave. for decades.

“Where these babies are at, we don’t need this. Where these elders are at, we do not need it,” Gibson said.

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On May 10, a carjacking occurred on Babbitt Road near downtown Euclid, police said. Of the seven reported carjackings so far this year, police said all but one of them occurred in the month of May.

“What we’re seeing is it seems to be groups of juveniles and young adults who work together. They will focus on an area and then move to another area,” Chief Scott Meyer said. “My concern is with the warmer weather in the summer, particularly with the juveniles out of school, there’s just more opportunity and more time for these types of crimes, which can turn deadly.”

As of Tuesday, there have been 42 carjacking incidents in Euclid over the past 24 months, according to police data. However, the number of incidents has sharply increased over the past year.

Euclid police data shows a total of 23 carjacking incidents in 2021, which marks a 77% increase over the number of carjackings reported in 2020 — 13. The vast majority of victims in the carjacking incidents were alone and more than half of the incidents since 2020 have occurred between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight.

“I think people should be conscious certain behaviors that put you more at risk or less at risk,” Chief Meyer said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is educate the public on this.”

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In many of the carjacking incidents, the victims were either distracted on their phones or had just exited their cars. Euclid police data shows more than 80% of the carjacking incidents in the past 24 months have involved a victim that was either sitting in their car or exiting their car.

“We get into our cars and then you start to organize your things or you check your phone but that’s when I think you are most vulnerable. I think you need to get to your car with purpose and you need to be very aware of your surroundings. I would get in that car and then get moving from the area that you intend to leave,” Chief Meyer said. “It doesn’t mean to be innately suspicious of other individuals but you really should be aware of who’s around you and what you’re doing."