Monroe County carjackings: Seasoned criminals or bored teens?


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There are all kinds of thoughts right now on what might be happening with 14 (likely connected) carjackings. Police are wondering if it’s a tight-knit group of seasoned crooks, or if they are random acts across Monroe County.

It was suggested Wednesday, young people are involved in all this. The ‘why’ in all that— says one psychologist could be a variety of factors. 

Sgt. Jared Rene with the Greece Police Department said one theory being projected by the public right now is these carjackings could involve young people. The warmer weather could be a factor. 

“I think more during the summer when kids are out of school, and there’s more time on their hands, maybe sports activities aren’t going as frequently,” says Rene.

But he says, there is nothing concrete.

“This just feels like a crime of opportunity, this is a network of people that stealing vehicles at this point,” says Rene.

If these are younger people committing these acts, psychologist Heather Starks with the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, says the pandemic and teens not in regular routines could be a factor.

“Kids not feeling very hopeful about things, or not having a social connection…leads to making choices that may not be something they’re the most proud of,” says Starks.

But Starks says the violent twist in all of this, referring to the homicide in Gates Wednesday, is something new. ‘Joyriding’ she says for a teen— pretty standard, but pulling out a gun and taking a life, that goes beyond the norm. 

“People are not necessarily feeling that their lives are of value, and if they don’t feel their lives are of value, they don’t see other’s lives as having value,” says Starks.

That feeling of having no value she says could have a variety of factors. This could be a case of young people trying to prove something to a group or be a part of something larger…or a case of self-preservation in their community.

Whoever is committing these crimes, teen or not, Chief James Vanbrederode of the Gates Police Department says we need these criminals off our streets. 

“Until we get that person or people in custody, this is a problem for our community,” says Vanbrederode.

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