JOLIET – Last year alone, more carjackings were reported in Chicago than in any other city. To address the increase in car thefts and hijackings, State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel supported proposals that were signed into law Thursday.

According to a January report from CNN, cities around the country have seen an increase in the rate of carjackings. More than 1,800 carjackings were reported in Chicago last year, according to data released by police departments to CNN.

“Carjackings have skyrocketed in our neighborhoods and people fear that they will be the next victim,” said Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “These new laws will help fight this crisis and ease some of the emotional stresses associated with it.”

House Bill 601 modernizes the definition of the possession of burglary tools offense to include devices designed to unlock or start a vehicle without a key and devices designed to capture or duplicate a signal from a key fob. Car thieves have exploited new technology that can pick up the RFID signal from a key fob at a distance, allowing a victim’s vehicle to be unlocked or stolen even while the fob remains in their home. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Illinois saw a 13% increase in car thefts from 2019-2020.

Loughran Cappel was a cosponsor to House Bill 3699, which provides law enforcement with additional resources to coordinate efforts to put a stop to carjackings. Under the new law, the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council – made up of representatives from the insurance industry, state’s attorneys and law enforcement – will be tasked with working together to reduce carjackings. The council currently provides grant funding to three task forces – comprised of law enforcement and state’s attorneys – which investigate and prosecute motor vehicle theft and similar crimes.

House Bill 3772 will provide protections for victims of carjackings who receive red light or speed camera violations after their vehicle has been hijacked. Under the new law, if a person receives a citation due to one of these camera violations, the court or hearing officer would be able to consider whether the vehicle was hijacked before the violation occurred or the victim not under the control of or possession of the vehicle at the time of violation.

“It’s critical that we ensure law enforcement officials have the necessary tools to tackle this issue,” said Loughran Cappel. “

The new laws take effect Jan. 1, 2023.