Carjackings in Philadelphia are soaring amid a city-wide surge in crime.
Interim Vice President of the Division of Public Safety Kathleen Shields Anderson told The Daily Pennsylvanian that more than 129 carjacking incidents have been logged in Philadelphia since the year’s start, up from 43 during the same time frame in 2021.The most recent of these incidents occurred just a block away from Penn's campus, at the block of 4200 Pine Street, according to a UPennAlert issued on Jan. 28.
DPS sent out a bulletin to the community on Jan. 14 providing updated guidelines for both how to avoid instances of carjacking, and how to respond to them, if necessary. Anderson told the DP the bulletin could be most summarized with one point of advice for community members: to stay aware of surroundings.
Anderson added that carjacking instances most commonly occurred when cars were left on the road during deliveries. Suspects are typically between 15 to 30 years of age and will often approach as the owner is entering or exiting the vehicle, according to Philadelphia Police Department.
“What we are seeing is that carjackings are occurring to delivery drivers, people who are trying to make a living,” Anderson said.
Anderson recommended individuals in the area who felt unsafe to drive to DPS headquarters at 4040 Chestnut Street and ask DPS to help find a parking spot. Free services such as walking escorts and PennRides are also available for all Penn community members.
The bulletin further urges victims of carjacking to leave the scene, remove themselves from verbal and physical confrontations, make a note of the suspect’s description, and call Penn Police.
On Jan. 27, a Philadelphia pizza delivery driver shot an attempted carjacking suspect six times after the suspect threatened the driver to exit his vehicle at gunpoint, 6ABC reported.
The surge in carjacking rates is not unique to Philadelphia. Carjacking numbers have been on the rise across many of the nation's major cities throughout the duration of the pandemic. In Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis, carjacking rates have more than doubled. In Washington D.C., rates increased by over 343%, according to CBS News.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Anderson recommended individuals in the area to drive to DPS headquarters at 4040 Chestnut Street and ask DPS to help find a parking spot, when in fact Anderson recommended that only individuals who felt unsafe in the area should drive to DPS headquarters for assistance. The DP regrets this error.