EUCLID, Ohio — The nation and Northeast Ohio are seeing a rise in carjackings, but there are ways you can prevent your car from being stolen.
Cuyahoga County's prosecutor says in Cleveland alone, there were 433 carjackings in 2021, compared to 355 in Cleveland in 2020.
To add to those numbers, on Tuesday a police pursuit that ended with the car crashing into a clothing store was all due to a stolen car. The vehicle was stolen in Cleveland but then spotted in Euclid via license plate readers and ended up in East Cleveland.
Though the car was not stolen in Euclid, Captain Mitch Houser with Euclid police says they have also seen the rise in carjackings.
“Some of these criminals go out looking specifically to go out and commit a crime and they're just waiting for the opportunity to happen. And sometimes people just happen upon that, what they consider that perfect set of circumstances and they can't resist,” Houser said, adding that over the past few months, the suspects have been males below the age of 30.
“Although that doesn't mean we don't see older suspects sometimes or females. But typically, it's going to be your late teenager to early 20s male,” Houser said.
According to Euclid police data, thieves have been striking either early in the morning or late at night when the sun is not up, and targeting younger males.
There are a few things you can do to lower your risk of being carjacked. First, when parking your car, make sure it is well lit. When seated in your car, check your surroundings, Don’t be buried in your phone. Lastly, when seated in your car, make sure your doors are locked and windows rolled up.
“What we see a big spike in is the two opportunities that people mostly get carjacked in — is when they're getting into their car or sitting in their car. And those are opportunities where the thief knows the victim is going to be right there with the car with their keys,” Houser said.
Euclid Police retrieve most cars that are stolen.
“The overwhelming majority of the cars we recover [are] usually someplace either they've been in an accident or they ran out of gas or they were disabled in some way, shape or form,” Houser said.
In some cases, they are used in other crimes, Houser said. He added if your child is in the car, ask to get the child out, and if asked to get in a car, don’t.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.