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Phoenix vehicle thefts by juveniles increased by over 500% in 2023. How police plan to reverse trend

phoenix police car
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
The Phoenix Police Department is hiring.

Phoenix police have seen a dramatic jump in vehicle thefts in the last year.

On Tuesday, the department released plans to reduce those numbers as part of its 2024 Crime Reduction Plan. Police attribute that spike to a viral video.

The Phoenix Police Department reported a 76% increase in juveniles committing violent crimes. Instances of motor vehicle theft from juveniles increased by over 500% in 2023. Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Ed DeCastro explained how that surge came from a viral TikTok video.

“Juveniles were teaching people how to easily steal Kias and Hyundais, and so that became a game to juveniles. They were going out and just stealing these cars daily," DeCastro said.

DeCastro said those citywide thefts have slowed down. Moving forward, the department will put some of its effort on youth engagement and education. Police said they hope this will help reduce the juvenile violent crime rate by 5% this year.

Nick Karmia is an intern at KJZZ.
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