U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman announced this week that the Western District of Washington is one of seven districts that are adding a carjacking task force to focus efforts and resources on this important public safety threat.

“Our task force harnesses the resources of the FBI, ATF, the Seattle Police and Kent Police Departments. Prosecutors will look at all carjacking incidents in the district to see if federal prosecution is appropriate,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Where adults are using juveniles to commit these crimes, we will explore significant federal penalties to hold the adults accountable.”

“The Justice Department has no higher priority than keeping our communities safe. We do so by targeting the most significant drivers of violent crime and by acting as a force multiplier for our state and local law enforcement partners. We’re seeing results — with violent crime declining broadly nationwide,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Today, we are launching seven new carjacking task forces across the country to build on the success of task forces in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Tampa, where available data shows that carjacking rates are now falling. When prosecutors, officers, agents, and analysts come together to crunch data, share intelligence, and apply best practices, we can make real progress in the fight against all forms of violent crime, including carjacking.”

“Addressing violent crime is a task that takes teamwork.” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “I am proud to join with our law enforcement partners in the Seattle area to protect the communities we all call home.”

In keeping with the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime, the task forces represent a strategic enforcement priority for the department, focusing federal resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of violent crime.

Building on the initial efforts of and best practices learned from carjacking task forces in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Columbia, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Middle District of Florida, the following offices in seven other districts are announcing the creation of carjacking task forces in their communities:

  • District of Oregon
  • Eastern District of Texas
  • Northern District of Alabama
  • Northern District of California
  • Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Southern District of Mississippi
  • Western District of Washington

Carjacking and other violent crime task forces have proven to be an effective part of successful violent crime reduction strategies by focusing on significant crime drivers and taking violent offenders off the streets of our communities. For example, carjackings in Philadelphia declined by 31 percent from 2022 to 2023, and armed carjackings are down 28 percent in the District of Columbia this year to date compared to the same period in 2023. In Chicago, carjackings decreased 29 percent from the high in 2021 through the end of 2023.

The newly formed task forces will be led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with state, local and other law enforcement partners. At an initial kickoff meeting, the task force members will come together to outline how they will share and act promptly on information related to car thefts, carjackings and the recovery of stolen or suspect vehicles. The task forces will also collaborate on how to use federal sentencing enhancements for cases where adults use juveniles to commit carjackings, as well as working with state and local authorities to ensure the appropriate handling of juvenile suspects. The task forces will also assist state and local officials who wish to seek Justice Department grant funding for juvenile intervention and diversion resources.