The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced the launch of a new task force that will address carjackings, auto thefts, and unauthorized use of vehicle offenses that have seen a spike in the District.
Detectives specialized in robberies and violent crimes will be part of the task force.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Acting DC Police Chief Robert Contee emphasized that it was also important for drivers to be wary of possible car-related crimes as many incidents are preventable.
Drivers should avoid leaving keys in their vehicle and leaving their cars unattended while they are running, according to Contee.
“Washington, DC, along with other major cities around the nation, are experiencing an increase in carjackings, auto thefts, and unauthorized use of vehicle offenses in communities,” MPD said in a press release. “MPD is the lead law enforcement agency of the task force, with assistance from federal law enforcement including the FBI and ATF Washington Field Offices and the US Attorney’s Office.”
The task force will also be partnering with the Office of the Attorney General, Metro Transit Police, Prince George’s County Police, Montgomery County Police, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Forensic Sciences, and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.
Motor vehicle thefts around the city increased 64 percent in 2021 compared to the same period of last year, as of Thursday, February 11, according to MPD data.
A total of 392 vehicle thefts took place this year so far, up from 239 recorded during the same time. (The figure rose to 3,279 by the end of 2020.)