A mother of four driving through Old City was carjacked at gunpoint by four men earlier this month.
That same night, a 60-year-old man was killed by a carjacking suspect while attempting to leave his mother’s house in Northeast Philly.
The same week, a pizza delivery man shot a would-be carjacker six times in Kensington.
And on Wednesday a police officer fired a shot at a 17-year-old carjacking suspect who drew a weapon as officers approached him.
We could go on, and on.
Philadelphia police officials say they’ve recorded 140 carjackings in the first month of 2022. That’s seven times the pace of 2020, and merely 53 fewer than the annual total in 2017, according to data gathered by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The response from law enforcement has been fairly strong.
“What’s happening here is not normal and I don’t want anyone for any minute to begin to normalize this,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a Jan. 13 press conference. Outlaw announced an Operational Task Force dedicated to the rise in car theft, including plain-clothed officers who will patrol high-crime areas and more investigative resources.
“Once we start to identify the individuals, take them off of the street, get them behind bars, we will see some significant, positive result and the carjackings will go down,” PPD Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish told 6ABC after the Sunday killing of the 60-year-old man.
And the normally flippant Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner even spoke forcefully after a groom was robbed on his wedding night in December and again after U.S. Rep Mary Gay Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint in FDR Park.
“For anybody who has the idea that robbery is an option, I want you to understand that we have some jail cells for you,” Krasner told reporters after the wedding night robbery.
After years of treating criminals as victims and victims as roadblocks to social justice, however, we simply cannot take such statements from D.A. Krasner seriously. As a result, we are hesitant to believe that new law enforcement tactics will yield much improvement.
After years of treating criminals as victims and victims as roadblocks to social justice, however, we simply cannot take such statements from D.A. Krasner seriously.
A sense of lawlessness engendered by radical progressive policy-making in the city has become endemic. Law-abiding citizens are consequently forced to bear the daily fear of living in a place where the law has taken a back seat to the dreams of left-wing ideologues in government. And there’s no reason to believe this unfortunate reality will change any time soon.
People in positions of political power, such as Krasner and Mayor Jim Kenney, may give the occasional tough statement, but concrete action aimed at removing criminals from city streets and successfully prosecuting them is a different story.
And as far as we can tell, Krasner and Kenney are merely hoping the crime wave will ebb on its own so they can resume their normal social-justice preoccupations. And this virtually guarantees that they and the city they’re responsible for will continue to be consumed by ever-increasing violence.
There are signs that a significant political reaction to rising crime, both here in Pennsylvania and nationally, could soon come.
Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter wrote a heated op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer decrying the “messed up world of white wokeness Krasner is living in.”
Former District Attorney Seth Williams, who has had his own encounters with law enforcement, took to our pages to plead for a rational path forward that includes respecting victims of crime.
And former Lehigh Valley Rep. Charlie Dent aptly noted in a January article published by CNN that “The Nutter-Krasner battle reflects a growing rift within the Democratic Party over public safety.”
Indeed, it does feel as though the radical portion of the Democratic Party that called for defunding the police in 2020 is increasingly viewed with suspicion from within the party’s ranks. The presumed Democratic nominee for governor Josh Shapiro has called for more funding for state police.
READ MORE — Krasner and city must list forensic technologies he claims will curb homicide crisis
And while the Democrats’ internal dissension over crime pervades, Republicans are gaining both nationwide and in our region.
A new Gallup poll shows that 47% of Americans identify with the GOP while 42% identify with the Democratic Party. The same poll shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating on crime down to a miserable 39%, likely contributing to Democrats’ issues appealing to voters with nine months till the 2022 midterms.
Here in Pennsylvania, a poll commissioned by the Republican State Leadership Committee found Republicans leading on a so-called “generic ballot,” with public safety being a major cause for increased GOP identification.
No matter which way the partisan winds blow in the coming months, however, we can only hope that they bring in policymakers who are willing to combat the unacceptable crime exploding in Philadelphia. The city’s next carjacking victim simply can’t depend on the status quo.
Broad + Liberty is a non-profit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. Ideas matter, and as a 501 c(3) nonprofit we rely on the generosity of donors like you to support our work. Please invest in us here. @broadandliberty