Map: Minneapolis neighborhoods hardest hit by car hijackings in 2021

Car hijackers targeted virtually every neighborhood in Minneapolis last year.

Police recorded more than 640 attempted or successful car hijacking attempts across the city, nearly two per day, putting residents on edge and confusing law enforcement.

All but seven of the city’s 87 wards recorded at least one incident, but they were most heavily concentrated along a Longfellow strip through the Midtown wards of Powderhorn and Phillips, extending to Whittier and the regions of Uptown.

Other hot spots included parts of the North Side and Marcy-Holmes around the University of Minnesota campus.

It’s hard to make comparisons to previous years, as Minneapolis Police didn’t start tracking car hijackings as a separate statistic until the fall of 2020. They reported 170 incidents that year. Previously, these crimes were usually lumped together with robberies.

Car hijackings started to increase in early 2021 and then declined somewhat over the summer before spiking sharply in the fall months. Police data shows more than 100 incidents of carjacking reported in November alone.

There were twice as many car hijackings in the last three months of 2021 compared to the same period the year before.

Already in the first week of January, police data showed a rate of around one carjacking per day.

Teens and young adults are reported as common suspects in carjacking cases, often abandoning cars somewhere nearby and rarely attempting to sell the vehicle or its parts.

This wave of violent carjackings is not limited to Minneapolis, St. Paul and other surrounding jurisdictions also reporting an increase in incidents. The trend has also swept through major cities across the country, including Chicago and Washington, DC.

Comparable data for St. Paul and the metropolitan suburbs is not readily available.

Authorities recorded more than 4,000 auto thefts in Minneapolis last year, a 40% increase from pre-pandemic figures. Item thefts from vehicles rose 17% to more than 5,000 incidents in two consecutive years, while a wave of thefts of catalytic converters also exploded in the Twin Cities.

Carjackings were among several violent crimes that have reached record levels in Minneapolis over the past twelve months, alongside spikes in other thefts, aggravated assaults and the city’s worst year of homicides since a generation.

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