PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Carjackings continue to plague Philadelphia and the number of them continues to rise.
City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson hosted a town hall on carjackings Tuesday night where police gave a view into what has been causing the climbing totals. The meeting came hours after Philadelphia police touted an arrest of a man wanted for murder and violent carjackings.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 203 carjackings have been reported to police. Compare that to this time last year, when officers had about 78 reports of the same crime.
"We're seeing a lot of what drove our violent crime: social media beefs, domestic violence-related incidents, accessibility to guns, and narcotics were driving our numbers in 2021," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
"This is happening all over the city. Victims of carjackings have been spread across all demographics.
Now in 2022, Outlaw said suspects are getting younger.
"Young people are carrying guns," she said, "because they feel like they need them to be safe, but it's also glorified."
While police said there's not a specific trend for a type of car being taken more frequently, they are seeing a bit of a pattern when these types of crimes are being reported.
"We know there's a very small amount of individuals that's driving up these numbers, that is responsible for a lot of what we're seeing," she said.
Leaders within the department agree that as they can get these suspects they can get taken off the street, they expect the pattern of carjackings to trend downward.
Meanwhile, police leaders are reminding people to be constantly aware of their surroundings.
Investigators say that many carjackings happen when people are heading toward their vehicle, or shortly after parking it, and have also seen some suspects bump the back of cars prior to carjacking them.
"While you get out of the car to look at the back of your car or to investigate or to exchange information, you may have two other people that you didn't notice that run up on you," said Outlaw.
Should this happen to you, police say say don't feel obligated to protect material items.
They add to have an extra eye out when you're at the ATM or getting gas, and for delivery drivers, if they park their car to hop out quickly, to take their keys with you.
When it comes to protecting their home, investigators say to think about installing security or doorbell-type cameras, as they can be critically important for investigations.