By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An attempted carjacking targeting an off-duty Philadelphia police officer is under investigation as officials say the crime has increased in the city over the past two years. This happened in the Ogontz neighborhood around 11:30 Wednesday night.

The department said the officer’s Chevy Malibu was rear-ended by a white Honda near Ogontz and Olney Avenues. The off-duty officer followed the car until it entered Lower Merion.

Police later found the Honda and two suspects in Overbrook.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw released the following statement on the increased number of carjackings in the city.

There is no single issue that is more important to me, or the members of the Philadelphia Police Department, than fighting the surge of violent crime that continues to plague our city.
The onslaught of violence happening in Philadelphia is entirely unacceptable and we remain committed to stemming these trends.
One of the more disturbing trends that we have seen in Philadelphia is the startling increase in the number of carjackings – the taking of a vehicle by force or fear – that have been experienced over the past two years.
We recognize the fear and uncertainty these incidents bring, as the victims in these cases have touched nearly every demographic.
It is clear that carjackings are a crime of opportunity, and it is possible that a change in our daily routines – such as increased use of vehicles for delivery, curbside services, and ridesharing have provided increased opportunity for criminals. In addition, the COVID-19 Pandemic has normalized mask wearing, and this has provided additional opportunity for offenders to avoid catching their victim’s attention, as well as making it more difficult to identify perpetrators.
We also know that this trend is not unique to Philadelphia, as similar increases have been seen across the country during the same time period.
Last year, there were 757 reported carjackings in Philadelphia, an increase of 34% over 2020. Out of those 757 reported carjackings, police arrested 150 individuals, clearing 93 investigations through those arrests.
While we can expect more arrests and case clearances in the future, we recognize that these statistics are not anywhere close to where we need them to be, and work is underway to minimize these occurrences.
Plainly put, the PPD has deployed additional resources to investigate these incidents and apprehend offenders. This includes plain-clothed officers deployed to targeted areas and an operational Task Force dedicated to combating carjackings within the city.
In addition, every PPD detective division, as well as our Major Crimes Unit, which investigates crime rings and trends, has assigned detectives to investigate patterns, hotspots, and develop intelligence pertaining to carjackings. Our intelligence bureau is also gathering information from multiple sources, participating in mutual exchanges of information with our law enforcement partners, and identifying locations, trends, and patterns associated with carjackings in the city.  Along with our efforts, the Attorney General’s Office is aiding in investigating carjackings in Philadelphia while providing additional investigative technology to our Department.
We are going to continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who are unified in making Philadelphia a safer city, and we also need the public’s help in reducing these incidents. We ask that anyone who has any information about carjackings – or any violent crime – to share it with our Tip Line at 215-686-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous. And as always, if you are in need of immediate assistance, please call 911.
Please see our tips on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Stay safe.
Wednesday night’s incident is still under investigation.