Carjacking is on the rise again. What is it, exactly? And what can you do to protect yourself? While the crime does involve overtaking of a vehicle and subsequent theft, it also includes possible physical violence to the victim, similar to mugging. And sometimes it is preplanned and deadly.
According to Wikipedia, common carjacking plans can include: (1) bumping vehicles from behind, and taking the car when the victim gets out of the vehicle to assess damage and exchange information; (2) staging a fake car accident, sometimes with injuries, and stealing the vehicle of a passerby who stops to assist; (3) flashing lights or waving to get the victim’s attention, indicating that there is a problem with the victim’s car, and then taking the car once the victim pulls over; and (4) following a victim home, blocking the victim’s car in a driveway or in front of a gate.
Below are some common tips to protect yourself.
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings
- Park in well-lit areas
- Keep doors locked and windows up
- Avoid unfamiliar or high-crime areas
- Alert police as soon as is safely possible following a carjacking
- Avoid isolated and less-well-trafficked parking lots, ATMs, pay phones, etc.
- When stopped in traffic, keeping some distance between the vehicle in front, so one can pull away easily if necessary.
- If confronted, it is often safer to give up the vehicle and avoid resisting
- Carry Pepper Spray
- Always keep your phone fully charged and in your possession
Information provided by Wikipedia and Car Safety associations.