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Baltimore agencies pledge joint effort to stop juvenile car thefts, carjackings

Lock your cars! Vehicle theft spikes in COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 18:15:53-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — The fears of Baltimore residents over the recent spike in juvenile car thefts summed up best, perhaps, by Desiree Clary of Canton.

“I’m a mother of three,” Clary told city leaders at a hearing on the troublesome crime trend, “My biggest fear is being carjacked with my children in the car and what am I supposed to do when six to eight youth surround my car?”

At the heart of today’s hearing was the Department of Juvenile Services, which recently put two young people back out on the street with a few hours of an attempted carjacking.

it was a decision based on a quick telephone call between police and a DJS supervisor, which prompted City Councilman Zeke Cohen to demand some answers.

“I feel there is a break down in the systems to hold these young people accountable,” Cohen told us.

The councilman says he’s not interested in assigning blame or finding fault for gaps in the detainment process, but adds he’s encouraged that Juvenile Services has pledged to do better.

“We are aware and concerned about the lack of onsite staff in order to engage the police in real time and talk through cases and so that is something we’re looking to resolve within a week,” said DJS Deputy Secretary Lisa Garry.

A step in the right direction with pledges by other agencies to work better together to tackle auto thefts and carjackings, which carry far higher stakes than simple property crimes.

“What am I supposed to do. I can’t fight back,” said Clary, “What if they shoot me? What if they hurt me? What are my children supposed to do? We need to stop this and hold these kids accountable.”