Klobuchar also highlighted her bipartisan legislation to provide critical support to local law enforcement

Over 640 successful and attempted carjacking crimes were reported in Minneapolis last year


WASHINGTON - At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Federal Support for Preventing and Responding to Carjackings,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) emphasized the need to combat recent increases in violent carjacking crimes.

Highlighting a carjacking case that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota prosecuted, Klobuchar noted how coordinated initiatives such as Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) serve as a ‘force multiplier’ by bringing together federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify and develop solutions to pressing crime issues such as carjacking. 

Klobuchar also highlighted the importance of passing her bipartisan COPS Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and provides critical support to local law enforcement. This legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), provides grants for local law enforcement and community leaders at all levels to hire and train more officers. 

The number of carjacking crimes has increased dramatically in Minneapolis, with more than 640 successful or attempted carjacking incidents  in 2021, of which 90% went unsolved. 

The transcript of questioning is given below and available for TV download HERE and online viewing HERE

Sen. Klobuchar: Thank you very much Senator Durbin, Senator Grassley for holding this important hearing. When I was a D.A. in Hennepin County, our biggest county, when I first got there we had rampant carjacking. We made a major focus on this. Back then it was bait cars. It was more cars being stolen from the street, but oftentimes there were people in them and I'm committed to making a change here. I thought it was interesting what you talked about Mr. Glawe, which makes some sense to me, everything you said makes sense, but I want to start with organized crime and this idea that some of this is just people doing this for the fun of it, with people dead as a result. But some of it is because of the high demand for vehicles and they’re taking these cars. 

Would that make you lead more to a federal response in the need for coordination with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office and such?

Mr. David J. Glawe: Senator, thank you for the question. Fortunately NICB has postured, that’s  what we do and we actually have two former U.S. attorneys that are on my staff here with us. We have aggressively postured with the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, and state and local law enforcement - exactly what you’re talking about. The demand for cars right now is at an all time high in the United States - up 39% - you can barely get a car when you go into a lot. And it has created a market for criminal organizations, especially if they don’t actually commit a robbery or a violent crime, these are property crimes. And we have seen a tremendous uptick in the United States since 2019 - a 16% increase in auto theft. But just the numbers on auto theft - Colorado has seen a 79% increase in auto theft, Wisconsin 74%, Vermont 64%, New York 59%, D.C. 50%–

Sen. Klobuchar: I know. Can I give you my numbers?

Glawe: Sure.

Sen. Klobuchar: Minneapolis alone, this is one city, saw a 537% increase in carjackings between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, there were more than 640 successful or attempted carjackings in one city. That is not so different than what you’re seeing by the numbers in Cook County, Sheriff. It’s very similar with the percentages where you’ve seen carjackings spike nearly three-fold. 

I’m going to go to a different topic here with you, Chief Garcia. And that would be about in general supporting the police and the need to [address] - the morale issue and the like. I’ve led bipartisan legislation for years with Senator Murkowski, Coons, Tillis, about reauthorizing the COPS Program. Could you talk about how that helps local law enforcement?

Chief Edgardo Garcia: Absolutely. Having that support from the COPS office,  not only for the programs that we want to institute with regards to looking at ways, if we remember the old Weed and Seed programs that we would have prior. You know, I was a big Weed and Seed [supporter]  back in the early 90’s when I started and it’s kind of had a resurgence in the city of Dallas with the terminology and using that. But having those resources, helping resources, and getting officers on the street. Doing both proactive policing as well as community engagement is crucial and critical. More police officers and law enforcement agencies, if you have a plan, reduces violent crime.

Sen. Klobuchar: If you have a plan, yes I agree. Mr. Herdman, in early February, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Minnesota brought federal charges against a group of seven men for violent crimes, including carjacking. These cases were being prosecuted as part of the joint federal state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods, which as you know is a federal initiative led by the U.S. Attorneys. How does partnering with local and state law enforcement agencies act as a force multiplier for the U.S. Attorneys’ offices?

Mr. Justin Herdman: Thank you for the question, Senator Klobuchar. The federal agencies operate most effectively in my experience when they are actually present in the police departments, when we have ATF agents and FBI agents who show up and work hand in hand on the same shifts with patrol officers. I think that's a very effective way to demonstrate a message not only to police officers in the big city departments, but I think also to the community. And so I would suspect that that’s what was going on with the Violent Crime Task Force in Minneapolis. I would hope so, because you do see its daily coordination and hourly coordination as opposed to on a quarterly basis or a bi-annual basis. It's much more frequent and I think much more effective that way.