Philadelphia seeing big spike in number of carjackings

Police say they've made 88 arrests this year, and 56 of those were juveniles.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Carjackings in Philadelphia have more than doubled this year compared to this time last year, and police say it's often teenagers who are responsible.

"I'm looking over my shoulder a lot more and I don't come out at night," said Russell Bobo from West Philadelphia, near the city's most recent case of a carjacking.

Police say around 11:20 Wednesday night, two armed men carjacked an off-duty police officer at Havel Ave. and 46th Street.

The suspects took off in the 2012 white Toyota Camry, but abandoned it a few blocks away in an alley near 49th and Osage Avenue. As they fled the scene, the officer's crumpled uniform could be seen on the ground.

The officer wasn't hurt after Wednesday night's carjacking. Police are still looking for the two suspects as well as any surveillance video of the incident. They're urging anyone with information to come forward.

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The officer had just returned home from her shift at the airport around 11:20 p.m. when two armed men approached her.

"They're attacking, they steal, they rob, they shoot and it has got stop somehow. I don't know what the secret is but they have to put an end to it," said Bobo.

The city has recorded 503 carjackings so far in 2021, more than double the 227 this time in 2020.

"A lot of times it's joyriding or just moving themselves one place to the other," said Captain John Ryan from the Philadelphia Police Department major crimes unit.

He says there have also been cases where suspects carjack vehicles to use in other crimes, like shootings, homicides, and robberies.

Captain John Ryan says they've made 88 arrests this year, and 56 of those were juveniles.
"Most of the juveniles that we've arrested, even juveniles with significant criminal history, they've been released and they're just reoffending," said Ryan.

Neighbors say they think these kids need better guidance.

"Just face the fact that some stuff has gone very wrong for a really long time, and unless that gets faced, you're not going to be able to tell children how to act," said Sharon Chestnut from West Philadelphia.

The district attorney's office says a lot of factors go into handling these crimes, especially when a juvenile is involved.

A spokesperson said if a weapon is used it is prosecuted as a violent crime, and it offers services like counseling to the juvenile.
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