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'The Crime Catalyst': Carjacking criminals are most often Louisville's youth

Many of the criminals in these traumatizing incidents are under the age of 18 and use stolen vehicles as a catalyst for other violent crimes, LMPD data shows.

Hayley Minogue

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Published: 5:37 PM EDT June 2, 2022
Updated: 3:16 PM EDT June 6, 2022

Home of the Louisville Slugger, Kentucky Derby and dubbed "The Gateway to the South," those who live here are proud to call themselves Louisvillians.

But the city of Louisville is facing a crisis.  

Over the past several years, violent crime has sharply risen across the city, breaking gruesome records including record homicides and assaults. 

Another crime has more than tripled in the past five years: carjacking.

In 2018, carjacking reports in Metro Louisville were on par with the rest of the country. Since then, the numbers have taken a steep climb up, with Louisville averaging more than 200 cases a year.

Carjacking is a violent and traumatic crime, and it's different from a car theft.

Offenders approach you while your car is running in the driveway, or while your stopped at a red light, checking your phone or changing the radio station. Then, you hear the sound of a gun barrel tap on your window. 

Sometimes, the criminal will take your phone, wallet and car keys, then leave. 

Although, more often than not, carjackings are violent. Victims of carjacking have been hit, kicked, pushed to the ground and even shot.