Philadelphia experiencing 80% increase in carjackings in 2021, police say

Philadelphia Police Major Crimes says carjackings are happening daily, and the majority of offenders are juveniles

The City of Philadelphia is seeing at least an 80% increase in carjackings in 2021, compared to the total number in 2020, Philadelphia Police say. Captain John Ryan with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit says on Wednesday night alone, there were eight carjackings across the city.

That number does not include an active investigation in Holmesburg Thursday morning. Police say one car was stolen and during the attempted theft of a second car, the car owner confronted the thief and was shot once.

With more than 600 carjackings city-wide in 2021, Captain Ryan points to one big problem.

"About 75 to 80 percent of our people arrested for carjackings are juveniles, some as young as 13 and 14-years-old," he says. "We’re seeing juveniles with numerous priors, prior carjacking, and they’re just getting released on house arrest, whatever good that does. It’s essentially a violent, a very personal crime, a very serious crime, and it can lead to tragedy."


Police say most of the cases are "walk-ups." Thieves will wait as people park their cars or walk up to their cars, distracted.

The crimes are happening at all times throughout the day, but primarily between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.

"The public needs to take care of just noticing who’s around you what’s around you, where you’re parking," says Captain Ryan. "You should never leave your car running, it’s an open invitation. Some of the carjackings are car thefts that turn into struggles and it becomes a robbery, which is a carjacking."



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