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Carjackers: A Study of Forcible Motor Vehicle Thieves Among New Commitments, 1985-1993

NCJ Number
R L Fisher
Date Published
17 pages
Using data on carjackers committed to New York State correctional facilities from 1985 to 1993, this study provides statistics on carjackings, carjackers, and their victims.
The definition of "carjacking" used in this report is identical to that adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice in a recent national study: the taking of a motor vehicle by force or threat. The study screened a random sample of 1,799 robbery-in- the-first-degree offender commitments received between 1985 and 1993 to find carjackers. Crime data in case folders were then reviewed to determine that the case was indeed of a carjacker. This screening resulted in a study population of 74 carjackers (approximately 4 percent of the sampled robbery cases). All the carjackers were male. Sixty-one (82 percent) of them robbed men; the other 13 (18 percent) robbed female victims. Forty-nine (66 percent) of the carjackers used a firearm in the carjacking; another 16 (22 percent) used a knife or other weapon. Approximately one-third (31 percent or 23) of the carjackers injured the victim of the carjacking. Carjackers overwhelmingly robbed motor vehicles from strangers; more than 90 percent of the carjackers did not know their victims. Approximately 60 percent (n=44) of the carjackers had one or more accomplices in the carjackings. Most study results are similar to those of the 1994 Federal study that examined carjacking with the use of national crime victim survey data. Extensive tables and figures