- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

An Illinois state lawmaker has filed legislation banning violent video games such as “Grand Theft Auto” as Chicago experiences an uptick in carjackings following nearly a year of coronavirus-related restrictions.

State Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., a Chicago Democrat, introduced a bill Friday that would amend the Violent Video Games Law to prohibit the sale of all violent video games in Illinois.

“‘Grand Theft Auto’ and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Mr. Evans said during a press conference Monday morning in south suburban Olympia Fields, ABC 7 reported. “Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”

Mr. Evans’ bill would modify the definition of “violent video game” to mean a video game that allows a user or player to control a character that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human or human-on-animal violence, and it would define “serious physical harm” as including “motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present inside the vehicle when the theft begins.” 

Chicago police say carjackings rose about 135% last year to 1,415 and continue at a high pace this year, Fox News reported.

“Grand Theft Auto,” a series of action-adventure games by Rockstar Games, hasn’t released a new installment since 2013.

A December report by ABC News said carjackings, particularly among young people, are on the rise in Chicago and other big cities in the country for a number of factors relating to the coronavirus pandemic: Mask-wearing anonymity has emboldened criminals, law enforcement has been hindered by the need to minimize officers’ possible exposure to COVID-19, and many in-person public services, like schools, have been closed for the majority of the pandemic.

Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, said the pandemic has led to “real uncertainty around what police are expected or allowed to do,” and “the social service sector has ground to a halt. People can’t do in-person contact. Kids are out of school and don’t have programming to go to.”

It’s the “perfect storm,” she told ABC.

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