PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Carjackings in Philadelphia have nearly tripled since 2019. Police officials say the rising number is troubling, particularly in the cold winter months where there's usually a decrease in that type of crime.
It's an alarming trend where would-be victims are fighting back. In one instance, shooting and killing a suspect attempting to carjack them.
Police promise to continue deploying officers to pinpoint locations where carjackings have increased substantially, while Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says to be mindful of your surroundings.
"Carjackers have been utilizing a pump and run, where they initiate the carjacking by tapping your vehicle with their vehicle," Outlaw said.
If that happens, you want to make sure to get to a location that has sufficient lighting. You can call 911 or drive to the nearest police station. Police officials say delivery drivers have also become targets.
"We believe they set those food deliveries up and when that person arrives, that's the car they're gonna take. We also know it's not one type of car, it's the full gamut of vehicles," Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish said.
Police statistics show between 2010-2019, there was an average of 230 carjackings each year in the city. The number jumped to 409 in 2020 and topped off with 757 in 2021.
So far this year, there have been over 100 carjackings and we're still in the month of January.
Another worry, of the 226 illegal guns recovered so far this year, 21 have been ghost guns -- some of which police say were involved in carjackings.
"Beware of your surroundings, suspicious persons or vehicles, and trust your instincts. I encourage all drivers to keep their phones on their person in case an emergency arises. And please do not get involved in an altercation with these suspects. Your life is far more important than your vehicle so be a good witness," Outlaw said.
While responding to the increased number of carjackings, Commissioner Outlaw says the department is also addressing ongoing staffing shortages and bolstering their detective unit.
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