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Philadelphia Continues To See Surge In Carjackings, Authorities Believe Social Media May Be To Blame

PHILADELPHIA. (CBS) – Philadelphia continues to see a surge in carjackings in the city. On Wednesday, officials provided an update on their efforts to get a hold of the problem.  Philadelphia police believe it's a small group of criminals that are responsible for the majority of carjackings in the city, and they say social media is a driving force.

The rash of carjackings in Philadelphia is on the rise. Police and their partner agencies are tracking them closely.

"The FBI, ATF - Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - but we also have the Pennsylvania State Police is joining our collaboration and so is the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office," Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish said.

Officials are making it clear: carjackings is a national trend, and Philly isn't exempt.

Police tell Eyewitness News there have been 134 carjackings so far this year, and another 20 attempted. They are making leeway with 31 arrests, eight of them within the last week.

"Three of the suspects were driving vehicles that were taken during carjackings, at the time of the arrests those suspects' ages range from 14 to 24," Naish said.

On Monday, Chopper 3 captured a wild pursuit of a carjacker in Northeast Philly.

The department says pursuits can be extremely dangerous and may put members of the public in danger. That's one of the main reasons police don't conduct chases in the city. Instead, Philadelphia police say they are using other investigative techniques to identify offenders.

"The helicopter allows our folks to stay back a little bit further without driving at whatever crazy speed the offender is driving and know where the vehicle is," Naish said.

With the age group of suspects ranging from 14 to 24, police say carjackings are being glorified on social media.

"Some carjackings that are getting social media attention are leading to other carjackings and that's predominantly where a lot of juveniles are coming into play. We think they have been making somewhat of a spectacle or game at keeping score outta something like this," Naish said.

Philadelphia police say they believe their efforts could help them to soon see a decrease in carjackings across the city. They promised an update on those efforts by the end of the month.

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