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Philadelphia Carjacking Task Force sees drop in carjacking numbers

Philadelphia Carjacking Task Force reports decrease in carjacking incidents
Philadelphia Carjacking Task Force reports decrease in carjacking incidents 02:03

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Friday afternoon brought a stark warning from the Philadelphia Carjacking Task Force.

"Whether a single subject or a group of subjects, with criminal history or without, the message is simple your actions have consequences," FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs said.


Following a spike in carjackings, the group was formed in January of 2022. The collaboration sees resources and tools come together from the Philadelphia Police Department, ATF, FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"We sit down, crunch numbers, we shared data, we talk about where the hotspots are in the city, what tools we have not just through law enforcement, but social services and other entities," Jacqueline Romero, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said.

One of those hotspots right now is in Kensington.

"We know it to be an open drug market, we label that it is one of the most violent pockets in the City of Philadelphia, as well," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said.

Over the last two years, the task force said community engagement played a role in getting numbers down, too. Often, they noted, the crime involves young people.

"We can speculate all day long as to why kids are attracted to it, my messages don't get involved in the first place because the consequences of these crimes are tremendous," Romero said.

In the update, the task force spoke on several recent cases and convictions.

"The federal carjacking penalties are severe. They include charges of conspiracy, robbery, kidnapping, various firearms violations," Eric DeGree, Special Agent in Charge with ATF Philadelphia said.

More than 100 defendants have been charged from January 2022 through March of this year, and that number may grow with 25 active investigations.


"Many have long criminal histories, but others less so. Including some offenders, who were very surprised to find themselves on the feds' radar, first time offenders," Romero said.


Recent data, provided by the task force, shows more than 160 carjackings so far this year.


After seeing a steady increase through 2022, 2023 saw a more than 30% drop in carjackings.

"You don't have to have a long rap sheet or even any rap sheet for the feds to look at you to go federal. You don't have to be a part of some large criminal enterprise for the feds to look at you to go federal," Romero said.

The task force is hopeful numbers continue to decline in 2024. That being said, they vow to continue their efforts in the years to come.

"We're gonna follow the data and follow the numbers," Romero said.

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