May 13, 2022 - News

Philadelphia carjackings on track to surpass 2021 totals

Illustration of police lights shown through the shape of a police hat.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Carjackings continue to spike in Philly while homicides are trending downward so far this year compared to this time in 2021.

Why it matters: The city is grappling with historic rises in gun violence and carjackings during the pandemic, as its understaffed police department struggles to attract new recruits and fill vacancies due to retirements.

Driving the news: A total of 502 carjackings have been reported in Philadelphia so far this year as of Monday. That's up from 109 during that same period in 2021, according to police.

  • With more than seven months left in 2022, carjackings are on track to surpass last year's total (847), per updated police figures.

Flashback: Philly averaged 230 annual carjackings in the pre-pandemic years between 2010 and 2019, before logging slightly more than 400 in 2020, according to police.

Zoom in: The majority of those arrested for carjackings are under 21 years old, according to police.

  • Police have arrested around 169 individuals for carjackings this year — 103 of which are younger than 21, police said.

Meanwhile, 171 homicides have been reported in the city as of Thursday. That's down 10% compared to the same time last year, according to the police department's online database.

What they're saying: Deputy police commissioner Ben Naish said Philly is mirroring a nationwide rise in carjackings and overall violent crime.

  • Factors behind the uptick in carjackings could be related to the use of car delivery and car-sharing services, Naish said.
  • "I don't think there's one factor overall that's behind the increase in carjackings, but I think it's a lot of things for a number of reasons," he said.
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