A Democratic Illinois state legislator is blaming the video game “Grand Theft Auto” — at least in part — for Chicago’s massive spike in carjackings.
Carjackings in Chicago more than doubled in 2020 compared with the previous year, Block Club Chicago reported, citing Chicago Police Department data.
More than 200 carjackings took place in January, according to WBEZ-FM.
The video game some have focused upon is older than many of the carjacking suspects who are arrested.
Some suspects think their age makes them immune to any real consequences.
Philanthropist Early Walker, however, believes the video game triggers kids to live it out on the streets of Chicago, and contacted Democratic state Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. to do something about it.
Evans submitted a bill last week to amend a 2012 law that banned some video games from being sold to minors.
“‘Grand Theft Auto’ and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Evans said, according to WLS-TV. “Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”
“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities,” Evans said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
HB 3531 would ban the sale of video games depicting “psychological harm,” including “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present inside the vehicle when the theft begins.”
The bill summary notes that the legislation “Changes provisions that restricts the sale or rental of violent video games to minors to prohibit the sale of all violent video games.”
It also “Modifies the definition of ‘violent video game’ to mean a video game that allows a user or player to control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal.”
The bill “Modifies the definition of ‘serious physical harm’ to include psychological harm and child abuse, sexual abuse, animal abuse, domestic violence, violence against women, or motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present inside the vehicle when the theft begins,” the summary reads.
“Representative Evans and I have researched and concluded that these very young offenders of carjacking are greatly influenced by the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game,” Walker said.
“I truly believe that there is bipartisan support in Springfield to ban this game from being sold in Illinois,” he said.
“I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum,” Walker also said, according to the Sun-Times. “When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings.”
Not everyone agrees banning the game will end carjackings.
Eliminating GTA will have about as much impact on carjacking as eliminating Call of Duty will reduce world wars or banning Minecraft will decrease structure-destroying “mobs.” https://t.co/49TRrMcb12
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 23, 2021
It’s like crime didn’t exist before Grand Theft Auto ??♂️https://t.co/w14AxW3lKC
— Chino (@D_RadioGuy) February 23, 2021
“Who are the carjackers? Black children largely. That’s what the data is suggesting, and yet I’m a mother of four and I have two sons. I understand what police presence, though I want that to happen, may mean in terms of deadly force and fatality,” Kimya Barden, a professor of urban community studies at Northeastern Illinois University, told WBEZ.
“So what’s the black mom to do? Amplify our voices, bring light to this idea that black moms are really scared,” Barden said.
“If we really do care about these youth then some type of accountability should be there to prevent them from acting out — not just in this moment but when they get older,” Barden said.
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