- Carjackings take place very quickly. Most only take 15 to 20 seconds to complete.
- Carjackings can be violent. Drivers have been beaten or even murdered while being pulled out of their car.
- Carjackers are usually armed, either with a gun or a knife.
- Carjackings may first involve a minor vehicle accident. The victim's vehicle is "bumped" at a stop sign, red light or interstate off ramp. When they exit their vehicle to check the damage, the carjacker may display a weapon and take the vehicle.
- Other carjackings occur at stop signs or lights. The carjacker may approach the vehicle, display a weapon and order the victim out of his/her vehicle.
- As a victim is entering or exiting their vehicle, the suspect may be standing close by, be in a parked vehicle hiding by other parked vehicles or building.
- Anybody can be a target. Carjackers look for targets of opportunity.
Precautions While Driving Your Car
- Plan your route, try not to travel alone.
- Do not drive in unfamiliar areas avoid trouble spots.
- Keep doors locked and windows up.
- Look in the rear view mirror often.
- Observe 180 degrees around you.
- Keep packages, purses, etc. on the vehicle floor rather than on the seat where they are easier to see.
- If a suspicious looking person approaches your vehicle, drive away carefully, even if you must go through a traffic light.
- Don't "drift off" when stopped, stay alert.
- If bumped from behind, motion for the other driver to follow, drive to the nearest safe place. Notify the police immediately.
- When stopping to use outside phones, or ATM's, choose a well-lighted and highly visible area.
- When stopping in traffic, leave enough distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, so you can pull away quickly if necessary.
If Confronted While Stopped
- Avoid verbal/physical confrontation
- Call the Police immediately
- Don't panic
- Give a description of your car and the suspect(s)
- If pulled from your car or confronted while in your car, cooperate, move away quickly
- If you have a cell phone, call for help
- Walk/run from the immediate area
Options To Consider
- Have a plan, do something, don't just sit there.
- Be extra cautious when someone approaches your car and asks for information. If you must talk to them, do so with the window up, the doors locked and ready to drive away if necessary.
Getting out of Your Vehicle
- Park in a well-lighted area.
- Park near the main aisle.
- If you suspect something is wrong, don't stop.
- Always park where you have a 360-degree view around you.
- Be aware of your surroundings before you get out.
- Use your auto alarm, if you have one, as a personal safety device.
- Roll up your windows before parking.
- Leave your doors locked until you have observed your surroundings and are ready to exit your vehicle.
- Take your keys with you and have them in your hand.
- Move quickly away from your car.
- At home, make sure your garage door is down before exiting.
Getting into Your Vehicle
- Park in well-lighted areas at night.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Appear confident and assertive.
- Walk with someone to your car (friend, co-workers, escort).
- Keep a free hand when approaching your car.
- Have your keys ready.
- Separate your car keys from other keys in case you need to go back to a place of safety.
- Look for anyone near your car before entering.
- Check the exterior of your car.
- Look inside your car before entering.
- At home, lock car doors before opening the garage door to leave.
- Safely place your children in the car, lock the door, and then secure them in their seat or seat belt.
- Anyone can be a victim.
- Your safety is your responsibility.
- Have a plan and share it with your passengers.
- If at all possible, never go with the suspect(s).
- If a gunman wants your car, give it up. It's not worth your life!
For additional information call our Crime Prevention Officer at 610-623-0700.