House Dem says getting carjacked didn’t change her criminal justice views

Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon says that being carjacked at gunpoint has not changed her mind on criminal justice reform.

Scanlon made the remark in an interview with Roll Call on Thursday in which she was asked if the horrifying incident influenced her views.

“I don’t think my views changed really much at all from the carjacking incident,” Scanlon told Roll Call. “I just would rather not have had that proof in my face.”

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Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., speaks with supporters before an interview event with Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman on reproductive freedom and the economy at Watkins Avenue Senior Center on Nov. 4, 2022, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., speaks with supporters before an interview event with Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman on reproductive freedom and the economy at Watkins Avenue Senior Center on Nov. 4, 2022, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint by five teenagers in 2021 as she was leaving a meeting. 

The crime took place in broad daylight around 2:45 p.m. near FDR Park in South Philadelphia. By that evening, police had arrested the group of teenagers in Delaware after they were found inside the 2017 Acura over 40 miles away from the scene of the crime. Scanlon was not hurt during the incident.

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A Philadelphia Police Department marked vehicle with its emergency light activated. The department will disperse more officers into troubled neighborhoods to address violent crime. 

A Philadelphia Police Department marked vehicle with its emergency light activated. The department will disperse more officers into troubled neighborhoods to address violent crime.  (iStock)

“What was really shocking about it was they were 15, 17 and 19-year-old kids. And it wasn’t about selling a vehicle or chopping it up for parts — it was about excitement and joy riding, as I understand it,” Scanlon recalled Thursday. 

She continued, “And that’s a huge spike we’ve seen across the country, with kids who have no expectations of success in life or just don’t see a future for themselves. This is a thrill or something they’ve heard about online, and it speaks to the deeper economic and societal problems that we have to address.”

Philadelphia reached 500 homicides last month amid concerns from elected officials about how to respond to violent crime playing out in city streets. 

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Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., speaks with supporters before an interview event with Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman on reproductive freedom and the economy at Watkins Avenue Senior Center on Nov. 4, 2022, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., speaks with supporters before an interview event with Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman on reproductive freedom and the economy at Watkins Avenue Senior Center on Nov. 4, 2022, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Despite the milestone, the murder rate for 2022 was slightly lower than the 562 killings reported in 2021, according to police data. The number of slayings in 2021 and 2022 are the highest the city has seen in years. 

Scanlon told Roll Call that the steady rise of crime in Philadelphia is being perpetrated by at-risk communities that most need help from the government.

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Scanlon said, “The statistics on who’s using guns and getting in trouble show it’s folks in poverty, who don’t have educational opportunity, who are hungry — and those are all issues that I’ve been trying to work on and we’ve worked on as the Democratic caucus.”

When it comes to combating the crisis, Scanlon says she is focused on ensuring guns do not fall into the hands of would-be criminals.

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The Philadelphia Police Department is the oldest city police agency in the U.S.

The Philadelphia Police Department is the oldest city police agency in the U.S. (iStock)

The representative said, “The big thing we haven’t been able to get a lot of traction on has been closing the loopholes that allow people — including kids — who shouldn’t have access to weapons to get access to weapons. So background checks, outlawing ghost guns. I would like to be able to make more progress there, and we’d like some help from the other side of the aisle to keep those guns off the streets.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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