“A general feeling of fear”: Concealed carry applications for Philadelphia residents soar by 600 percent in response to rising crime

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – According to reports, applications for concealed carry permits in crime-ridden Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, surged by just over 600 percent in 2021 and are on track this year to continue at this pace.

6ABC Philadelphia notes that the Philadelphia Police Gun Permit Unit reported 11,814 concealed carry permit applications in 2019, 11,073 in 2020, and a whopping 70,787 in 2021 alone.

As of April 2022, applications totaled 17,049, putting this year on pace to meet or even surpass last year’s totals.

According to Fox News, 51% of the 2021 permits went to women.

The apparent reason behind this surge in permits is understandable.

“Unfortunately, people are scared,” firearms instructor Terrence Lappe told Fox and Friends in a recent interview.

Lappe continued:

“When you have crime that goes unchecked, you have a police department that is an incredible one, but stretched incredibly thin – they can’t be everywhere at every time.

“People are scared, and they want to learn how to protect themselves.”

One of Lappe’s students, Brenda Adams, agreed.

Adams obtained firearms instruction and a concealed carry permit in response to rising crime rates.

She told Fox & Friends:

“There’s more carjackings and murders going on in the city every day, and I feel like… I need to protect myself when I go out.”

Philadelphia crime statistics are indeed sobering.

According to Neighborhood Scout, Philadelphia has been awarded a crime index of 8, meaning that the city of brotherly love is safer than only 8 percent of U.S. cities.

In addition, the chances of a person becoming a victim of violent crime in Philadelphia are 1 in 102, compared to 1 in 261 in Pennsylvania as a whole.

Fox News reports that Philadelphia experienced record homicides in 2021, with “562 total homicide victims, compared to 499 in 2020 and 356 in 2019,” and that violent crime is up 7 percent.

In addition, armed robberies have increased 58% over last year.

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It is not only concealed carry permits that have increased due to an increase in residents wanting to protect themselves against criminals.

Gun sales have also skyrocketed.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in 2020 gun sales in Pennsylvania increased by 49% over 2019 figures, with 1,141,413 firearms “lawfully purchased or privately transferred.”

Gun sales in Pennsylvania 2021 also topped 1 million, the outlet reports.

As for Philadelphia alone, according to state police data, 24,000 handguns on average were sold or transferred during each of the past two years, whereas over the preceding five years, only an average of 11,096 sales or transfers occurred.

Val Finnell, gun-rights advocate and Pennsylvania director of Gun Owners for America, told the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the surge in gun sales:

“A lot of people coming to the table at gun shows are first-time gun owners.”

Finnell continued:

“The most common scenario I run into is people purchasing their first firearm for self-defense.”

Sebastian Stelmach, co-owner of Philadelphia’s Double Tap indoor gun range and gun shop, appears to agree.

He told 6ABC Philadelphia that gun sales “spike[d]”  during the COVID pandemic, and are still increasing:

“Ever since then, it’s just been going up.

“With more gun sales, more new shooters, you name it.

“There’s been a big increase in violence throughout the city, so a lot of, like, robberies have been going on, carjackings, stuff like that, so they’re just –  the first thing they ask is, I need a weapon for protection.”

Stelmach added that the customers have been “a lot of women, a lot of single moms.”

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw recently sat down with Fox News Digital to share her thoughts on the issue of crime in the city.

She acknowledged the sentiments of Philadelphia residents in response to the threat of crime, saying:

“Residents are feeling dismayed, obviously. 

“There’s a general feeling of fear, whether it’s perception or reality just because of the numbers we’re seeing.”

She added:

“Although we are seeing some significant decreases – I say that cautiously – as it relates to our homicides, these are still human beings on the other side of these numbers.

“They’re still communities that are impacted, survivors that are left without their loved ones, and I take that very seriously.

“Our homicides have been slightly trending downward but our shootings, we’re still seeing a vast number of shootings.”

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Philadelphia criminals are forcing stores out of business, taking convenience to a whole new level

Originally published May 23, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Approximately 20 convenience stores in the city of Philadelphia have closed down with no intention of reopening. The owners say that an increase in shoplifting is responsible.

This brazen shoplifting is on par with the types that Law Enforcement Today has covered in places like San Francisco, where people carry out garbage bags of merchandise in broad daylight.

Surveillance video of one such recent incident in Philadelphia shows 5 mine wearing hoodies and ski masks entering a 7-Eleven, moving the cashier to the side and essentially ransacking the store, while one stood at the door as a lookout.

While the cashier opened the register for one of the suspects to empty out, others went straight for the cigarette cabinets and began filling a trash bag with an undetermined number of cartons. One of the men can be seen dumping out a trash can so he can use the bag to hold more merchandise.

When the man at the door warned that someone was coming, the men began to scramble and leave. Footage shows one of them push the clerk into a back office, go through his wallet and throw it on the table before walking away.

“They walk in, boom, boom, boom, like that. They said, ‘Give us money.’ Now all of a sudden, all this time it was money, now they are coming for merchandise, looking for cigarettes,” said store owner Vincent Emmanuel. “It’s a scary situation. Sooner or later, somebody is gonna get really hurt out there.”

Merchants and owners first started seeing the issue in Philadelphia itself. Now they say that it is spreading into the suburbs.

“Right now, we have a lot of problems with the city of Philadelphia stores. We are closing left and right,” Manzoor Chughtai, the president of the Franchise Owners Association, told ABC 6. “Robbers are coming in, they’re just robbing the place left and right.”

Chughtai discussed the store closures.

“We have now lost about 15, 20 stores in the city of Philadelphia. Nobody wants to take over the store. Nobody wants to run the business in the city of Philadelphia. Very dangerous.”

The ABC 6 report also stated that at least two of the men involved were captured on store surveillance footage at another convenience store earlier in the day, doing essentially the same thing as a clerk watched helplessly.

The store closures also run parallel with what has been happening in San Francisco, where Walgreens closed 5 stores and reduced the operating hours of others.

“Due to ongoing organized retail crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” a Walgreens spokesperson told FOX Business late last year. “Each store will transfer prescriptions to a nearby Walgreens location within a mile radius and we expect to place the stores’ team members in other nearby locations.”

“A general feeling of fear”: Concealed carry applications for Philadelphia residents soar by 600 percent in response to rising crime

These issues are not just happening in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Please take a minute to see what has been happening in placing like Seattle and New York City by:

DIGGING DEEPER

NYPD, defunded by $1 billion, reports shoplifting levels highest they’ve seen in 30 years

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Police Department is reporting that organized crime rings have ramped up the number of shoplifting cases to numbers they have not seen in three decades.

The New York Police Department recently reported the agency received over 26,000 reports of shoplifting throughout the city during 2021.

In 2020, the city received over 20,000 reports which has been leading many retailers locking up their merchandise to prevent theft.

One resident, Lattina Brown, spoke to Fox News about this:

“I went into my local pharmacy to purchase some vitamins and when I walked into the pharmacy, I noticed that the shelves were like completely empty and I asked the workers there, like what happened to the merchandise with your vitamins?

“Where’s your toilet paper and other essential items? I was told that people were coming in there and stealing them, looting things out of the store and that they cannot touch them.”

Brown is upset and concerned that retailers in the city are seemingly forced to lock up their goods as they claim there is no other way to deter theft. Brown, who is also running for New York City Council in District 17, fears that these thefts will shut retailers down and force them to move out of the city. She said:

“This is a major pharmacy, Rite Aid that caters to a lot of families who have underlying heath issues. If we lose this pharmacy, we’re going to be left out in the open to dry like we have people suffering with asthma, diabetes, heart conditions.

“Walgreens shut down not too long ago because they had the same issue. So, we don’t want this to continue to happen. There needs to be some, some type of change.”

There are many opinions on why there has been a significant increase in the retail thefts in New York and other major cities in the country. One of them being the criminal justice and defund the police movements which seemingly have led to fewer arrests and convictions.

Another opinion is that mental illness coupled with people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have caused the increase. One of the people with this opinion, Darrin Porcher, a retired NYPD Lieutenant, spoke to Fox News:

“It’s [the cause] is multifaceted, one of the things is the unemployment rate is going up in the wake of the pandemic. Secondly, we have a lost of cases of mental illness that are not being treated.

“So, when you have the collaboration of the unemployment at a peak coupled with mental illness that’s not being treated, you now have a combustible situation.”

Porcher also talked about steps that retailers can do to minimize the amount of theft inside of their stores He said:

“I think that the security in a lot of these retail establishments should be ramped up and many retail establishments are unwilling to provide or afford themselves that additional protection.

When you have uniformed security in a lot of these stores that are experiencing the greatest peak of shoplifting offenses, it creates or presents a level of omnipresence.”

The increase in shoplifting and theft cases are not centralized to New York, rather, almost every large metropolitan city is suffering. One of the areas that has been hit the most is San Francisco where they have seen several large retailers close because they can no longer afford to stay open.

Some believe that the spike in crime in these large cities is driven by large criminal organizations that utilize the stolen merchandise and then sell the items online for a large profit.

Ben Dugan, the President of the National Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, noted:

“Professional thieves working as part of a criminal organization to try to obtain as much product directly from retailers as they can for resale and for profit.”

Dugan also noted the theft is not only affecting retailers, but also the consumer because prices are raised to offset the costs. Dugan said:

“The average American family will pay $500 more in higher prices to offset some of the costs of organized retail crime.”


Police: Rampant retail thefts are so bad in Seattle that even Target is struggling to keep the doors open

SEATTLE, WA – Target in downtown Seattle is having a hard time making a profit while paying its employees. The reason why is not a lack of business, but rather the continued retail thefts that are occurring daily.

 

Jason Rantz, from the Jason Rantz Show, reports that he looked into the number of thefts that have been occurring at the local store over the last year.

Rantz alleged that he asked one of the employees if the theft was that bad and he was told that something is stolen about every ten minutes.

Rantz stood by to check out the situation for himself and noted that he observed Target employees confront two separate criminals within 12 minutes after they had allegedly stolen items. He Tweeted:

“Within 12 minutes of stepping foot into the Downtown Seattle Target, I saw security confront two shoplifters.

“One staff member told me this happens about every ten minutes in the store. The shelves are empty because of the shoplifting.

“Seattle is thriving!”

To combat some of the thefts that have been occurring, Target has stationed security guards at each of the entrances and exits of the building. The hope is that the presence of security will deter those that are considering stealing items.

 

Rantz stayed inside the store for a few hours and reported on some instances where he believed retail thefts had occurred. The first one he noted was around 11:45 am when he saw a man get off of an elevator with household cleaners in his hands.

Rantz claimed that the items in the man’s hands were stolen as the only way to check out would have been on a different floor. The man walked in the direction of an off-duty Seattle Police Officer who was working security and stopped.

The man dropped one item which prompted the off-duty officer to order him to turn over anything else that was stolen. Despite collecting a majority of the items, Rantz alleges that the criminal was still able to escape with at least one stolen item.

The next instance occurred just before noon when Rantz saw a staff member confront a woman who was accused of stealing. He said that the security guard ordered the woman to remove several items of stolen clothing out of her bag while they watched.

After security was satisfied that they had removed all of the stolen merchandise, she was escorted out of the store. Rantz said, despite her being allowed to leave, that the woman hurled insults at the staff during the entire event.

To help combat some of the thefts that are occurring in the store, Target has resorted to only selling high-end items online. Items such as PlayStations or Xbox’s are not available unless the product is paid in full online.

A sign that announces this is placed in the area where stores in other states have them on display:

“For the safety of our guests, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles are only available for purchase on Target.com and Target App via Order pickup and Drive Up.”

Rantz said although it is clear the stores throughout Seattle are victims of organized crimes as seen in other large cities, he also believes that the homeless population in the area are as much to blame. He said:

“But Target and other stores in the downtown core of Seattle are dying via death by a thousand homeless-induced cuts.”

Rantz noted that the current Seattle City Attorney, Ann Davison, ran on a political platform of prosecuting these types of crimes, but is having difficulty following through. Rantz does not seem to blame her, but rather said that her position is difficult with the large number of thefts occurring and too few police to make arrests.

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