As Carjackings Drop In Chicago, Activists Believe Violence Interrupters At Gas Stations Have Helped

Data shows carjackings are down in Chicago, as volunteers with the Community First Safe Pump Initiative have been guarding the same gas stations every Saturday morning this year. CBS 2’s Marissa Parra digs into the numbers, and shows how arrests and awareness might be key.

Video Transcript

- New tonight, crime stats show carjackings are down in Chicago compared to the beginning of the year. Volunteers have been guarding the same gas stations every Saturday morning for weeks. CBS2's Marissa Parra digs into the numbers and shows how arrests and awareness might be the key to keeping drivers safe.

CAROL IKA PRESIDENT: I drove up hoping that I would see somebody, and no I see a whole bunch of people. How you doing? Good, good, good.

MARISSA PARRA: For 13 weeks, rain or shine, people have been turning out here as protectors of the pump.

- So this is my day off. Hello, sir. How are you doing today? Great.

MARISSA PARRA: And on her day off, she's donning the yellow vest with Community Safe Passage.

STEVEN DEJOIE: Very proud to say that after 13 weeks, we've made a difference.

MARISSA PARRA: Carjackings, while still higher than average, are indeed down since January. Compare over 200 carjackings in the first month of the year, down to roughly 80 last month. While there's more arrests being done by Chicago Police--

- Yeah.

MARISSA PARRA: --Melissa says she thinks extra eyes from violence interrupters have been key, too.

- The people are more relaxed and not so up with their shoulders. They're not on guard and they're not like that. They're kind of strolling in and out.

ASYA TAYLOR: It definitely gives you a sense of security to feel empowered and safe with the people who look just like us.

CAROL IKA PRESIDENT: I was carjacked in January. I'm trying not to walk in fear, but just the fear of where do I go to get gas.

MARISSA PARRA: With the rate of carjackings easing in the city--

STEVEN DEJOIE: Someone who's going to be on the ground.

MARISSA PARRA: --don't count on DeJoie to be taking it easy anytime soon. He's here for the long haul.

STEVEN DEJOIE: We are looking forward to the day when we can spend our Saturday morning sleeping at home. But right now, I think with the weather getting warm, the city in such a turbulent environment, I think we're only going to see more activity, so we'll be here.

MARISSA PARRA: As you just heard, you will still see those volunteers at that gas station along 52nd and other South Side locations on Saturday mornings from 11:00 to 1:00. However, activist Steven DeJoie says he's looking to expand the program. So if you'd like to step up and help out, we can give you that email address to reach out to him. It's on our website, just pull up cbschicago.com.

Reporting from the street-side studio, Marissa Parra, CBS2 News.