Carjacking is a form of auto theft with a violent twist. Fear, force and brutality are used to rob a victim of his or her vehicle. Many times the driver and passengers are kidnapped during the encounter. Sometimes they are dropped off unharmed. Sometimes they are transported to a secondary crime scene that can be much more dangerous than the scene of the carjacking. Carjacking victims have been robbed, raped and murdered.
Don’t Be a Victim
While carjackings are on the rise, there are some common sense measures you can take so you don’t become a victim.
• Always park your car in a well-lit busy area where other people are around. Try to park as close to your destination as possible.
• Keep your car windows rolled up and doors locked at all times. Never leave the car running — even if you will be back in a minute. Check your back seat before getting into your car.
• Keep valuables out of sight. Never tempt a potential thief.
• Return to your car with keys in hand and be aware of what is happening around you.
On the Road
• Carefully choose the roads you drive and avoid high crime areas. Try to stick to busy, well-lit roads.
• If you can, stay in the center lane. It is much more difficult for carjackers to approach you in the center lane if you are stopped in traffic.
• Roll ‘em up and lock ‘em.
• Keep an eye out for suspicious activity around your vehicle. If you think you are being followed, drive to a police station or to a busy area and call the police.
• Keep your options open for possible escape routes at intersections.
If you are rear-ended, carefully assess the situation before you get out of your vehicle. Check out who is in the other car and make sure others are around. If you feel uneasy, keep your doors locked and call the police, or drive to the nearest station.
Sometimes carjackers will use the ploy of a minor traffic accident to snatch your vehicle. When you get out to exchange information and assess damage, the other driver or his passenger jumps into your car and takes off. If you do get out of your car, take your keys and wallet with you.