East St. Louis partnering with SLMPD to target recent carjacking - KMOV.com

East St. Louis partnering with SLMPD to target recent carjackings

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The East St. Louis Police Chief says news lines of communication are in place to fight the growing problem of carjackings in Missouri and Illinois. (Credit: KMOV) The East St. Louis Police Chief says news lines of communication are in place to fight the growing problem of carjackings in Missouri and Illinois. (Credit: KMOV)

The East St. Louis Police Chief says new lines of communication are in place to fight the growing problem of carjackings in Missouri and Illinois.

East St. Louis officers are now attending weekly briefings to get the latest from the violent crimes task force in St. Louis. In 2017, there were about 350 carjackings in the area.

Ralph Vaughn says when he’s out driving he’s always aware of his surroundings.

“I try my best to be, that’s the only way to avoid carjackings,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn said he check out the intersection when he pulls up to make sure no one is following him.

“I’m kind of a leery guy, I take extreme precautions, especially knowing how St. Louis and East St. Louis has become over the last few years, you have to drive like that,” said Vaughn.

Technology such as key fobs make it harder to steal cars so carjackings have increased.

“We have a lot of people from out city that rode MetroLink over, stolen a car, carjacked somebody, change the plates, drove it around a couple days over here and then when we get behind them they shoot straight back over the highway,” said Chief Jerry Simon, East St. Louis Police Department.

Chief Simon says there’s a fine line between an armed carjacking turning into a homicide.

“If they’ve got guns something bad could happen quick,” said Chief Simon.

The East St. Louis Police Department is now making more of an effort to open channels of communication by sharing security camera videos of carjacking suspects.

“We’re trying to work back and forth, if we have one and have any video we can give it to them, maybe they’ll know who it is and vice versa,” said Vaughn.

While Vaughn takes caution, other drivers we spoke with say carjackings aren’t really on their mind.

“When I leave home I just pray and keep going because if it happens it’s gonna happen, if not thank God,” said Tamika Williams.

Federal authorities are joining law enforcement with taking more of these cases to the federal level, which means higher mandatory minimum sentences.

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