Just the Stats: Critical findings on nonfatal carjackings in the United States

The rate of nonfatal carjackings has declined by 78% from 1995 to 2021


By Amanda Spence
Police1

Carjackings continue to plague citizens throughout the country on a regular basis. A high school student was recently the victim of an armed carjacking in her high school’s parking lot in Kansas City. But that wasn’t all. Elnora Owens was also caught in bullet crossfire blocks from where she was carjacked before the incident occurred, according to KMBC.

Recently, the Bureau of Justice Statistics with the U.S. Department of Justice launched Just the Stats, an online series featuring short snippet reports on criminal justice topics in a bid to share timely statistics on critical issues. The first edition surrounds carjacking victimization, and we’ve outlined some of the evidence that’s been uncovered.

Question: Are carjackings on the rise?

Answer: According to BJS data, the rate of nonfatal carjackings has declined by 78% for those aged 16 or older when comparing the years 1995 to 2021.

Question: Where do most carjackings occur?

Answer: Between 2012 and 2021, nonfatal carjackings happened at a victim’s home or nearby 39% of the time. In addition, 19% of carjackings occurred in a parking lot or garage. Other common places of note include on the street not near a victim’s home (22%), at or near a friend or neighbor’s home (8%), and at a commercial building or other location (13%).

Question: Do carjackers always use a weapon?

Answer: The data shows that weapons were used during two-thirds of all non-fatal carjackings. Of those armed incidents, firearms were used 38% of the time.

Question: How many victims are usually carjacked at the time of an assault?

Answer: Most carjacking victims (90%) are alone.

Question: Do most people resist a carjacker?

Answer: Just over half of victims (53%) resisted while being carjacked. In addition, 26% of the carjackings analyzed left a victim injured.

Question: Do most carjacking victims know the offender?

Answer: Carjackers are likely to be strangers to the victims they target 64% of the time. In only 26% of cases did the victim know their attacker.

Question: Who is more likely to be carjacked: a man or a woman?

Answer: BJS data revealed that both males and females are equally likely to experience a carjacking.

NEXT: Why data-informed community engagement is crime prevention and policing reimagined

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