Jan 20, 2022 - News

Philadelphia reports sharp spike in carjackings in 2021

Illustration of several police cruiser lights, some of them transparent.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Carjackings are skyrocketing in Philadelphia as the city faces an ongoing gun violence crisis.

Driving the news: Philly logged 757 carjackings in 2021, an 85% spike compared to the previous year, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday.

  • So far this year, the city has reported more than 100 carjackings, including attempts.

Flashback: Philly averaged 230 annual carjackings in the pre-pandemic years between 2010 and 2019.

Between the lines: The issue unfolds as homicides continue to rise in the city this January, after reaching a historic level in 2021.

  • The city has reported 32 killings this year, as of Wednesday, up 19% over the same time last year, per the police department's online database.
  • The number of shooting victims also rose 25% to 114, as of Sunday, compared to the same period last year, authorities said.

The big picture: Carjackings are on the rise nationwide, with other cities, such as Denver and Minneapolis, seeing sharp hikes.

Zoom in: Some carjackers are using a "bump-and-run technique" in which they initiate a carjacking via a minor car accident, Outlaw warned.

  • Carjackers are targeting just about anyone, including food delivery drivers, said Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Joel Dales.

What to watch: The police department is increasing patrols in areas experiencing a rise in carjackings and working with federal partners, Dales said.

  • The department is also expected to roll out a new non-fatal shooting unit in the coming weeks, Outlaw said.

Of note: Outlaw said she intends to add more detectives to the homicide unit this year.

  • Yes, but: Outlaw said the department has failed to invest in other investigative arms beyond the homicide unit in recent years.

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