Why car thieves rarely face consequences, as car thefts continue taking off citywide

Baltimore is suffering a catastrophic auto theft epidemic that lays bare the consequences of rampant soft-on-crime policies. A staggering 11,000 vehicles were stolen in the city last year – a rate of more than 30 per day – yet there is virtually no accountability for the perpetrators.

The staggering statistics expose the complete lawlessness gripping Baltimore’s streets. With police clearing a mere 7% of the 9,313 car theft cases in 2022, criminals have been empowered to operate with impunity knowing they face hardly any risk of apprehension.

Former deputy police commissioner Jason Johnson bluntly assessed the dire reality: “These drivers who have stolen a vehicle…simply flee from the police and that’s the end of it.” Reckless no-pursuit policies have rendered law enforcement toothless against brazen car thieves.

Even in the rare instances offenders are caught, prosecutors lack the evidence and resolve to bring meaningful charges that could serve as a deterrent. One car theft victim saw the criminal who stole her $50,000 Range Rover and trashed it avoid serious consequences. Despite video evidence, the thief dodged grand theft charges, convicted only of a petty “unauthorized removal” offense and slapped with just over two months jail time.

The prosecutor’s office admitted the “challenging” difficulties in proving cases, exemplifying their feeble unwillingness to deploy the full force of the law against these unrepentant criminals. As legal expert Jeremy Eldridge laments, “there’s no certainty of consequences” – the very condition that emboldens the skyrocketing crime rates.

With no fear of facing real justice, Baltimore’s criminal element operates unchecked while hardworking residents are victimized time and again. The vicious cycle is unsustainable and unacceptable for any civilized society.

Restoring order demands recommitting to proactive policing, aggressive pursuit policies, and prosecutors willing to bring the harshest possible charges against these lawbreakers. Until there are unmistakable, consistent consequences for such brazen property crimes, Baltimore’s beleaguered citizens can expect more of the same mayhem plaguing their streets.