Philly police set to surpass last year’s total for carjacking arrests just five months into 2022

Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish addresses an increase in carjackings in Philadelphia.

File photo: Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish addresses an increase in carjackings in Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Less than halfway through the year, the Philadelphia Police Department has recorded roughly the same number of carjacking arrests that it did during all of 2021.

So far this year, officers have arrested more than 160 people in connection to carjacking incidents. The “vast majority” of them are 20 years old or younger, said Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish during a news conference this week.

As of Friday, the department had more than 500 carjacking incidents on the books –— more than double the total at the same time last year.

“One of the driving forces ended up being some of the delivery services and the car sharing, and also we’ve seen carjackings being talked about on social media,” Naish said. “We’ve also recognized that a lot of the offenders are young. We’re seeing juvenile offenders as young as 12 or 13 being involved in some of these carjackings.”

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The news comes as Philadelphia continues to contend with a rise in violent crime — a trend that is unfolding in other big cities across the country.

In response to the uptick in carjackings, the police department has assigned uniformed and plainclothes officers to patrol carjacking hotspots, including parts of North Philadelphia. There’s also a task force dedicated to investigating these incidents, in addition to the work being done by divisional detectives and the Major Crimes Unit.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, FBI, and ATF are providing additional support.

“We are truly using every resource available to combat this issue,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters in January.

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Naish said the carjacking trend is showing signs of slowing, but that his department isn’t ready to declare victory just yet.

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