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*** UPDATED x1 *** Giannoulias awarding grants to combat carjackings and vehicle thefts

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias on Thursday plans to announce $21 million in grants to police departments and task forces across the state in an effort to tamp down on a three-year surge in armed carjackings.

More than half of that funding is earmarked for the Illinois State Police and the Chicago Police Department as the city grapples with some of its highest numbers of carjackings in at least a generation.

“It’s destroying communities,” Giannoulias told the Sun-Times ahead of the grant announcement. “It’s causing people to leave the state, making people second-guess putting their kids in the backseat. It can happen at 10 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon.

“We want to give law enforcement every resource we can to help identify and prosecute these criminals,” said Giannoulias, the first-term Democrat elected last year to replace the long-serving former Secretary of State Jesse White.

* Press release…

In an effort to combat the surge of carjackings and motor vehicle thefts in Illinois, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is awarding grants totaling more than $21 million to six police organizations.

The funding originates from the Illinois Vehicle Hijacking and Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Council, which is overseen by Secretary Giannoulias’ office. The Secretary of State’s office convenes regular meetings of council members and awards funding to assist law enforcement entities – including the Secretary of State Police – to combat carjackings and prevent motor vehicle thefts.

“There is no single solution, but these grants give law enforcement needed financial resources, which will provide a greater sense of focus and effort to recover stolen vehicles and prevent carjackings that have been occurring all too frequently throughout our state,” said Giannoulias. “People doing something so routine as getting in their car and driving shouldn’t have to fear that they’ll be robbed of their vehicle at gunpoint. Working together, we will continue to not only make our roads safer but also our communities, neighborhoods and business districts.”

“ISP’s expressway safety enforcement effort brings together the full force of patrol, investigations, license plate readers, air operations, and other assets,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “These grant funds will energize and sustain those efforts to pursue violent offenders and keep reducing violence.”

“Partnership is essential as we work to prevent and investigate vehicular hijackings and motor vehicle thefts,” said Interim CPD Superintendent Eric M. Carter. “This grant funding will help us bolster these efforts and create a safer Chicago.”

“The Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Taskforce (ISATT) will use this money to expand our investigations into crimes related to vehicular hijacking, auto theft, insurance fraud, rogue tow operators and recyclable metal left,” said Secretary of State Police Lieutenant Adam Broshous, Director of ISATT. Lieutenant Broshous noted that nine of the 22 sworn officers that make up ISATT are part of the Illinois Secretary of State Police.

In 2022, there were 1,655 reported carjackings in Chicago, more than triple the amount in 2012, according to city figures. Meanwhile, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that Chicago saw auto thefts rise 55% in 2022, an increase greater than every other city in the nation. In 2021, the NICB reported there were 13,856 auto thefts in the city, which increased to 21,516 auto thefts in 2022. Statewide, vehicle thefts rose from 28,557 in 2021 to 40,505 in 2022, according to NICB’s most recent data.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Giannoulias will provide the police organizations the below grants. These initial funds are earmarked for use in the upcoming year, and organizations can request full or partial grant renewals over the next three years to continue efforts to prevent carjackings and motor vehicle thefts:

    Expressway Safety Enforcement Group (ESEG) $10,264,503
    Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force (ISATT) $3,381,759
    Metro East Auto Theft Task Force (MEATTF) $2,456,527
    Greater Peoria Auto Crimes Task Force (GPACT) $2,150,700
    Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force (TCAT) $1,841,000
    Chicago Major Auto Theft Investigations (CPD) $1,451,011
    [Total] $21,545,500

The Secretary of State’s office collects an annual $1 assessment on automobile insurance policies from the insurance industry to fund grant awards. In addition, the Illinois General Assembly appropriated an additional infusion of $30 million last year to combat statewide carjacking and motor vehicle theft.

The council is made up of 11 members who discuss strategies to prevent carjackings, motor vehicle theft and recyclable metal theft. This council fell under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority from 1991-2017. Since 2018, the council’s work has led to 4,726 recovered vehicles valued at $92 million.

*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…

Today, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) announced $20 million in grants have been awarded to 116 non-profit organizations across the state through the 2022 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The funding will be used to help organizations strengthen efforts to protect against public safety and security threats. Many of the grantees are places of worship, reproductive health providers, cultural institutions, and education centers who were deemed at high-risk of a terrorist attack.

“As Governor, my top priority has always been—and will continue to be—keeping Illinoisans safe,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This $20 million investment will provide grantees—from mosques and synagogues to education centers and cultural institutions—the resources they need to enhance safety measures amidst the rising tide of extremism. From Skokie to Peoria, Illinoisans deserve to be able to congregate safely with their communities, and that’s exactly what the Nonprofit Security Grant Program achieves.”

“When the nonprofits that provide spaces to worship, create, and educate are secure, our communities grow and thrive,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “In Illinois, we stand against extremism and hate. These statewide grants are part of our sustained commitment to help broaden protective measures so all Illinoisans can feel safe and well.”

Funds must be used for target-hardening activities, which include active shooter trainings, the purchase/installation of security equipment on property owned or leased by the not-for-profit organization, and the hiring of contracted security personnel. Security enhancements must be for the locations that the not-for-profit occupies at the time of the application, and the projects must be fully completed during the three-year (36 month) performance period.

“At a time when threats against cultural and religious institutions have occurred in record numbers, this critical security funding is particularly important,” said State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield). “I am grateful to Governor Pritzker and IEMA for getting these resources to the places they are needed most.”

“Though we have taken historic steps to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation, there has been a rise in anti-Semitism, anti-Asian American hate, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and hate crimes,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “We must stay vigilant and provide as many tools in the toolbox as possible to root out hate. In that vein, I am grateful to the advocates and the work that was done to allocate resources to organizations in our communities to protect our constituents from harm.”

“The 116 non-profit groups will be able to immediately purchase and implement safety measures at their facilities,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Security equipment, facility hardening, and other operational actions are just some ways these groups are increasing safety measures for their organizations.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the IEMA Office of Homeland Security will continue to identify all expanding threats and work collaboratively with partners to monitor all enhancements and document proven successes.

       

10 Comments
  1. - Steve - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:19 am:

    It would be more logical to give out mandatory 20 prison sentences for anyone at any age who is convicted of carjacking.


  2. - Save Ferris - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:28 am:

    Always a joy to see taxpayer funds used to grease your senate campaign.


  3. - JS Mill - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:37 am:

    @Steve and Ferris…always problem solving right?/s


  4. - Reformed Blonde - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    Ferris- just saying this council was active under Secretary White and legislation to allocate $30 million extra into the fund was done before Giannoulias was even sworn in.


  5. - Save Ferris - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:52 am:

    Noted.

    Still greasing his campaign to get that deserved senate seat that Kirk so unkindly stole from him. Veruca will not be denied.


  6. - Sayitaintso - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 11:59 am:

    In hushed tones, the reporter says ‘we have it from reliable sources, several Giannoulias relatives have demanded a ‘sit down’ with the new SOS


  7. - Zaynab - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    Being carjacked is a shattering experience. Thanks to Giannoulias for putting his office to creative use. What a contrast this is to Brandon’s sole concern: that cracking down on this common crime might “criminalize black children”. I didn’t know that taking joyrides at gunpoint was a civil right.


  8. - OneMan - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 1:14 pm:

    Glad he is using funds to smoke this problem out finally.


  9. - Retired (D) - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 1:38 pm:

    2+ months in and many at SOS are still awaiting Alexi to bring in new Director’s to follow through on his campaign promise to modernize SOS. He’s sticking with many of the previous administrations dinosaur Director’s so far.


  10. - Too Late - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 10:37 pm:

    Too Late


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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