Monday, November 30, 2009

Don’t be a Target for Carjacking

According to insurance company statistics, 30 percent of carjackings occur in December.

Carjacking has risen dramatically in the last few years, perhaps because more people have equipped their cars with alarms and anti-theft devices. Now carjackers often wait until the car is unlocked and then take it by force from the owner.

Most carjacking occurs while the victim is either coming from or going to the car, usually at a parking lot or gas station. United States Department of Justice estimates that in about half of all carjacking attempts, the attacker succeeds in stealing the victim’s car.

Tips to avoid carjacking while in parking lots:
– Always be alert to what is going on around you.
– Shop at grocery stores that employ people to take your grocery cart to your car.
– Park in well-lit areas or in attended parking lots.
– When returning to your car, have your key ready to unlock the door, get in the car as quickly as possible, and lock the doors behind you.
– If you are in a parking lot, or if you are getting into or out of your automobile and are accosted by a carjacker, let him take the car. Your life is more valuable than your car.

Tips to avoid carjacking while driving:
– Many carjacks begin with a minor accident, one the carjacker has staged. The victim gets bumped from behind and gets out of the car to investigate. The carjacker flashes a weapon and orders the owner to give up the car. If you are involved in a minor automobile accident, particularly at night when no one else is around:
1) Remain in your car.
2) If necessary, draw attention to yourself by honking your horn.
3) Motion to the other driver to follow and then drive to a well-lighted place with plenty of people around. If it's a carjacker, he will likely give up and drive away. Try to get his license number and report the incident to police.
– If being followed by another car, drive to a police station or some public place.
– In traffic, leave space in front of you for a "getaway."
– Have your cell phone handy so that you can call for help when necessary.

Tips to avoid personal harm from a carjacker:
– When driving and stopped in traffic, if you are threatened by someone on foot you must think very quickly what to do. Whether or not you have a passenger, such as a small child in a car seat, adds considerably to your concern.
– You must protect yourself -- and your child -- from personal contact with a carjacker. It is better to surrender your car than take a chance with your or your child's life.
– You can't depend on a carjacker giving you enough time to remove a child from a car seat; he's interested only in a quick get-away. You must try to avoid the dangerous situation of the carjacker taking you or your child in the car with him. Authorities say women and children abducted under these circumstances are in extreme danger. The best solution may be to duck down in the seat (while still able to peer over the dash to drive), honk your horn, and start driving. Drive immediately to a police station or somewhere safe where you can report the incident.

Remember, to avoid a crime, it’s always better to eliminate the opportunity.


Anonymous said...

Excellent advice, Mary and thank you for sharing these safety tips in your blog. One cannot be too careful these days with desperate people running around.

Eunice Boeve said...

Somewhere I read that if you're outside your car and have your car keys in hand or can get to them quickly, throw them as far away from you as you possibly can and then run to the nearest lighted entrance, screaming all the way.
But a child in the car is a different story. I think of how hard it would be to get a child out of a car seat under such circumstances.
Thanks Mary for your safety tips. You never know when someone will need that extra information.
Eunice "Eunie" Boeve