ST. LOUIS — Carjackings continue to plague the City of St. Louis. Over the weekend, there were four reported carjackings and another three unsuccessful attempts.
Then Monday afternoon - there was another reported carjacking along Westminster Place in the Central West End.
In the past, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has blamed car technology for higher carjacking numbers.
UMSL Criminology Professor Matt Vogel confirms to 5 On Your Side that is a trend that he's seeing. Advanced technology makes it nearly impossible to hotwire a car, meaning criminals then have to resort to face-to-face violence to steal a car with keys.
"A lot of my clients are accused of violent crimes," said John Lynch.
Lynch is a former police officer turned defense attorney. He said car technology is certainly a factor, but that you can't ignore longstanding factors in the city.
"I think that generally - enforcement is down in the city of St. Louis," says Lynch.
He points to a longtime shortage of St. Louis Police officers, along with issues in the Circuit Attorney's office.
"The Circuit Attorney’s office in some respects has taken a back seat, whether it be by staff shortages, community relations in respect to prosecuting those crimes," he says.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is now working with local prosecutors to try some of these cases on a federal level.
Just last week, the two people behind the wheel of a stolen car who killed Michael Arnold - the owner of Gus Gus Fun Bus - saw federal carjacking charges added to the charges they're already facing.
Lynch adds, we as a community, also have to address the issues at the core of why people choose a life of crime to begin with.
"Frankly, we have a number of young men, ages 18-35, in a very limited geographic area that are lacking opportunity and education and they have a long and stellar history of resorting to those types of crimes," says Lynch.
In other words, the solution will have to be multi-faceted and thorough.
Based on numbers we've received from St. Louis police last week, it looks like we're closing in on 270 carjackings so far in 2018.
We'll have updated numbers for the month of October, in just a few days.