Could GTA be causing the rise in carjackings?


Marcus Evans Jr., the Illinois State Rep. who proposed HB3531, which would ban certain violent video games

On Feb. 22, Chicago Representative Marcus Evans Jr. proposed the banning of Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and other violent video games to limit the rates of carjackings. He said the recent rise in carjackings is due to the well known video game (GTA).
Some constituents do not believe there is a true correlation between violent video games and violent acts, and banning those games will not change crime rates. Others agree violent video games cause violence among the youth, and children’s minds are being affected by those games.
In May, 2017, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience concluded violent video games result in emotional desensitization, and as a result, kids don’t take death as seriously as they should. The debate of whether video games cause violent tendencies or not has been around since the first games started coming out.
A carjacking is when a car is taken by force, meaning the car is occupied. If there’s nobody in the car when the car is stolen, then it is a car theft. In 2020, there were 1,415 carjackings in Chicago, the highest since 2001. In January of 2021, there were 218 reported carjackings, the most in the history of one month. There has been an increase in the number of carjackings since the pandemic began in March of 2020, and Evans believes it to mainly be because of the video game known as GTA 5.
Evan’s plan involves amending a 2012 law that prohibits the sale of some video games to minors. He said the bill “would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities… Grand Theft Auto and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking.”
The founder of “Operation Safe Pump,” Early Walker, agrees that there should be a ban on video games that depict psychological harm, such as Grand Theft Auto. He says “I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum… When you compare the

, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings.” Operation Safe Pump puts armed officers at Chicago gas stations from 5-7 pm to protect people against carjackings. Walker said he believes that the way carjackings are committed in Chicago are far too alike to the way they’re done in the game.
Out of 20 OPRF parents, 14 said they do not want their children to play games like GTA, because they do believe that it may cause violent tendencies in their kids. A parent said “violent video games cause children to feel less emotion, which in turn leads them to do stupid things. In games like GTA 5, you could just murder someone and get away with it, which isn’t how it works in the real world.” The other 6 parents all say that they let their child play GTA, and it seems to have absolutely no effect on them.
However, none of the parents asked believe that there’s any correlation between video games and carjackings. Parent Jeffery Brown stated that the recent rise in carjackings are “Caused by kids who don’t get enough attention from their parents. You can’t blame it on a game that’s been out for years.” When asked about the potential ban on the game, another parent said “GTA is rated M for mature, which means kids shouldn’t be playing it anyway. It’s not fair to ban a video game due to the faults of parents.”
Out of 100 OPRF students, 60 students said they have played GTA at some point in their life. An anonymous student believes there is absolutely no effect on a child’s mind from violent video games, and the violent tendencies some children inhibit comes the way they were raised, and the things that they see outside daily. 98 students believe that there should not be a ban on the video game at all, as the Grand Theft Auto series has been out for decades. The other two students say that what Marcus Evans Jr. is doing is right, and the game should have been banned a long time ago.
During a conference, Marcus Evans Jr. said that he’s willing to go back on the bill if Chicago sees a decrease in carjackings, but until then the proposal will stand.