The Philadelphia Police Department has seen a decrease in the city's carjacking numbers over the course of the last month, The Philadelphia Tribune reported.
The rate — which was on the rise earlier this year — fell to a record low of 20 carjackings in the week of March 9 to March 16, Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish told the Tribune.
Naish attributed the decrease in carjackings to the arrest of carjacking ringleader Jonathan Akubu, who was charged in February for carjackings in which two men were murdered, the Tribune reported.
Naish also said the efforts by the department's carjacking task force and Philadelphia police officers have contributed to reduced rates.
Despite recent declines in carjackings in Philadelphia, carjacking numbers have increased in major United States cities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Philadelphia saw the number of initial carjackings increase in 2022 compared to 2021, the Tribune reported. By February, over 129 carjacking incidents had occurred, including one at 4200 Pine Street, close to Penn's campus.
In 2021, there were approximately 757 carjackings in Philadelphia, a 34% increase from 2020, according to PhillyVoice. Victims of carjackings typically include delivery drivers as well as others sitting in their cars on the street, in a parking lot, or at a gas station, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Back in January, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the use of masks during the pandemic has made it more difficult for victims and law enforcement to identify carjackers, PhillyVoice reported.
Naish advised members of the community not to fight back if their car is being hijacked, CBS News reported.