Durbin: Carjackings Are A Scourge On Society That We Have A Responsibility To Address

Durbin delivers opening statement in Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on preventing carjackings

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered his opening statement during a hearing entitled “Federal Support for Preventing and Responding to Carjackings.” In his opening statement, Durbin reiterated that while preventing and prosecuting violent crime is primarily a state and local responsibility, the federal government plays an important role in addressing the rise in carjackings nationwide.


Key quotes:


“Carjackings are a scourge. To be sitting in your car with your family, and have a person stick a gun in your face and force you to get out so they can steal the car– that’s a situation no American should have to face.”


“Let me be clear: the increase in carjackings started during the last administration, and continues into this administration.  It is impacting communities led by both Democratic and Republican elected officials.  It’s not a red problem. It’s not a blue problem.  It’s an American problem.”


“But, as we have learned in the so-called war on drugs, we cannot incarcerate our way out of the problem. One important step may involve the auto industry, to collaborate with law enforcement on steps that will deter would-be carjackers. “


“We also need to ensure that local law enforcement has the resources it needs to fight carjacking.  The American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed last year, included $350 billion to state and local governments, and we made sure part of that funding went to law enforcement and investing in community violence intervention programs.”


“And we need to get at the root causes that would drive a young person to engage in carjacking.  Preventing trauma, and helping kids deal with the trauma they’ve experienced.  Improving social services.  Diverting children from the criminal justice system to programs that give a child a chance to succeed.” 


In a January letter, Durbin pressed the Biden Administration, vehicle manufacturers, and law enforcement groups to work together to prevent and respond to the recent spike in carjackings by developing uniform standards for swift law enforcement access to vehicle location tracking data in carjacking incidents.


In February, Durbin called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to initiate nationwide data collection on carjacking to support efforts to develop crime prevention and enforcement strategies.


During a December Judiciary Committee field hearing in Chicago, Durbin asked U.S. Attorney John Lausch what specific steps his office is taking in conjunction with local law enforcement to combat carjackings. Durbin went on to echo Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart’s appeals to car manufacturers to provide additional tools to investigate these crimes.


Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.