Law enforcement stepping up efforts to combat carjackings -

Law enforcement stepping up efforts to combat carjackings

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

A police chase Wednesday that spanned two states and multiple counties all started with a carjacking.

Officials say the last few months have brought a drastic increase in that type of crime.

“It's extremely traumatizing to these victims,” said Jeff Jensen, the Eastern District of Missouri US Attorney, who’s been on the job in October.

Jensen says better technology in cars is partly to blame for a recent surge in carjackings.

“One problem is that it's much more difficult to hot wire a car as a result, people are carjacking, so you need the key or fab to operate the vehicle,” he said.

The number of carjackings in St. Louis City has spiked to close to 350 this year alone, according to Jensen.

“It's a tremendous problem in the region, because it gives St. Louis a bad name, so we are attacking it aggressively,” Jensen said.

His office has joined up with local law enforcement, taking more of the criminal cases to the federal level, which sees much higher mandatory minimum sentences.

One example is when the feds took on the case of Jaz Granderson, a De Smet football coach killed during what started as a carjacking.

“I think the word is out that the feds are taking these cases, but we are working closely with Kim Gardner and Bob McCulloch to tackle these cases,” said Jensen.

Violent crime is a big focus for the new US Attorney, who recently doubled the number of prosecutors in his office working on it.

“We will still do the white collar cases but we need the emphasis to be violent crime, we need to take volumes of these criminals off the street,” Jensen said.

Jensen says they are seeing younger people committing carjackings.

He says the motive is often just for thrill-seeking.

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