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Tips to Avoiding and Preventing a Carjacking
Carjacking has become a
very common crime in both the United States and overseas. The
majority of carjackings are conducted for the purpose of stealing the
vehicle. Occasionally, a carjacking is conducted as a tactic to
kidnap or murder someone.
Steps to Take to Avoid a Carjacking
Stay Away from
Dangerous Areas. Some cities have known high crime areas - stay
away from these locations. Carjackings will take place in parking
garages, parking lots, at intersections, in isolated areas, in residential
driveways, congested areas, and traffic jams.
Stay Aware and
Alert. Always be aware of your surroundings. If you detect
personnel and a situation that seems not right; start to prepare for how
you will avoid that person or get out of that situation.
Doors and Windows.
Lock your car doors and roll up the windows. The carjacker will look
for an easier target - one with doors unlocked and windows down. If
he does try to carjack your vehicle he will lose the element of surprise.
Use Your Mirrors.
When stopped in traffic, at a stop sign, or stoplight use your side and
Avenue of Escape.
Always plan for an avenue of escape. Have a direction to drive
should a carjacking attempt begin.
Between Cars. When stopped in traffic, at a light, or at a stop
sign ensure you maintain some distance between your car and the car in
front of you. You should keep at least one-half car length open
between you and the car in front of you. This will allow you to turn
the wheels and move the car.
Keep your cell phone handy and have some emergency numbers already
pre-punched in. Should you have an emergency or need to call for
help quick you will be ready. It can also be a deterrent, if during
the progress of a carjacking, the carjackers see that you have already
called the authorities.
Where Carjackings Take Place
High crime areas
Intersections in cities where you must come to a full stop
Congested areas or traffic jams
Parking lots in isolated areas
Residential areas in driveways
Lesser traveled roads and some rural areas
Methods Employed by Carjackers
"The Fender Bender". The carjacker
will bump your vehicle from behind - another name for this ruse is "The
Bump". This can have the appearance of
a minor fender bender. When you get out of your vehicle to inspect the
damage and exchange license and insurance information your vehicle is then
stolen. If bumped from behind pull over only when you reach a safe
"The Ruse". The vehicle behind
the victim flashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victimís
attention. The attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the
victimís car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle is taken.
"The Staged Accident". The
carjackers stage an accident with injuries that compels you to stop
and assist. This ruse is sometimes referred to as "The Good Samaritan". Once you stop and exit your vehicle it is stolen from
you. It may be safer to report the accident and location on a cell
phone to the authorities.
"The Trap". Carjackers use
follow the victim home, to work, or some other location. When the victim pulls into his or
her driveway or parking spot the carjackers pull up behind blocking your
escape. If you have a gated driveway, stop in the road first to
ensure the gate opens fully before pulling in.
"The Authorities". This
is when you are either pulled over by a vehicle and occupants who appear
to be police, emergency services, or some other authoritative personnel.
You believe you are complying with someone in an official capacity.
Once you have pulled over your vehicle is stolen. This ploy is less
likely in the United States and common in less developed countries.
Although not common in the United States, this is something to watch
out for overseas in less developed countries. A roadblock is set up
causing you to stop. The roadblock may even appear to be "official".
Once you stop, your vehicle is stolen.
What To Do During a Carjacking
In a matter of seconds you need to make a decision. Do you escape,
confront the carjacker, or comply with his
demands? In the majority of carjacking events the vehicle is the
primary target; meaning that you as a victim may not be harmed. If
you cannot make your escape (usually in your vehicle) then you will need
to confront the carjacker(s) or comply with the carjacker's demands.
If he is armed or has you in an impossible situation then do not
confront him or show aggressiveness; let him have the vehicle.
you are aware of your surroundings, have your doors locked, windows up,
have allowed sufficient room to maneuver your vehicle, and have a plan of
escape that you can quickly implement; then the conditions may be that you
can escape in your vehicle unharmed.
Carjackers. This is the less desirable course of action
available to you. Most times the carjackers will have picked the
place, time, and circumstances of a carjacking and the event is already
underway before you have sufficient time to react, decide or to prevent it
from happening. The carjacker is usually armed with a weapon of some
Comply and Give Up
the Vehicle. It may be best not to confront the carjacker and
simply get out of the car as quickly as possibly and let him have it.
A vehicle is not worth
losing your life or getting seriously injured over. If your children
are in the car then ensure they get out of the car first before it is
being driven away. Let the carjacker know you have a child in the
What To Do After a Carjacking
carjacking immediately. Have emergency phone numbers already entered
into your cell phone so you can dial them immediately. If you have "Lojak"
or some other type vehicle locating and recovery device that uses a GPS
then inform that company
immediately. Some cars can be equipped with anti-carjacking devices
that wil disable the car after it runs for a few minutes once
you activate a device either in the vehicle or on your person.
Continue to be aware of your surroundings and environment to ensure that
you are not in harm's way.
Further Information on Preventing A Carjacking
"Carjacking - - Don't Be a Victim", Bureau of Diplomatic Security, 2002.
"Carjacking Facts". Article by the "Crime Doctor".
How to Prevent a Carjacking. Florida Attorney General's Office.
Crime Prevention Tips - Carjacking. Arlington, Virginia Police Dept.
Preventing/Surviving a Carjacking. Citizen Defense Training.
"How to Avoid Being Carjacked" by WikiHow.
Further Information on Preventing Auto Theft
International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI).
How Eliminate Auto Thefts (HEAT). Michigan's auto theft prevention program.
Facts About Carjackings
Hoax Email Messages About Carjackings. A series of misleading emails are circulating about carjackings and a piece of paper left on the back window to get drivers to leave the safety of their vehicle. Read more on this by clicking
hoax-slayer.com. See also Snopes.com about this false message.
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