PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There have been more than 90 carjackings this year, compared to only 24 at this time last year. After the armed carjacking of Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, some residents thought carjacking would be dead. On Thursday, officials said the situation was getting worse.
It is a crime of opportunity that is out of control.
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“It’s not even the end of the month yet and we’re already, like, 91. It’s terrible,” said resident Ali Rosie.
Philadelphia’s carjacking trend tripled in 2022, with carjacking shaking people up.
“What’s happening here is not normal and I don’t want anyone to start normalizing it for a minute,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Outlaw said there was no single issue more important than fighting this surge of violent crime.
“We are really using every resource available to tackle this issue,” she said.
She says the department will create an operational task force dedicated to combat carjacking, deploy additional resources to investigate and nab criminals and deploy officers in plainclothes to high crime and hot spot areas.
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But they are also asking residents to take action.
“It’s a car. If someone is going to take your car, don’t try to fight over the car,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish. “It’s not worth your life.”
Naish referred to recent tragic incidents such as the death of Temple student Samuel Collington shot at his car and others, where the driver attempted to shoot his assailants. He says that when suspects are successful, the cars lead to other crimes.
“They are being used for some shoots which are going on within the city,” Naish said. “They are being used to do other carjackings.”
Single mother Rosie says she is afraid to drive in the city all the time because of the crisis. She says that while these initiatives may help, there is another issue the city is ignoring.
“They need more jobs, more opportunities, but it’s not right to take away from others,” Rosie said.
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Police say that social media is forcing people to think that it is an easy crime to avoid. The deputy commissioner says that carjacking will take the juveniles to the adult court.