Carjacking has become one of the most prevalent crimes in many parts of the world. Most carjacking incidences occur for the sole purpose of taking the car. Although it doesn’t get much media attention as some other crimes, carjacking has actually become one of the top crimes in the country. You can protect yourself by becoming familiar with the methods and locations commonly used by carjackers. The first step to avoiding an attack is to stay alert at all times and be aware of your environment. The most likely places for a carjacking are:
- High crime areas
- Lesser travelled roads (rural areas)
- Intersections where you must stop
- Isolated areas in parking lots
- Residential driveways and gates
- Traffic jams or congested areas
Learn to avoid these areas and situations if possible. If not, take the following steps to prevent an attack.
In traffic, look around for possible avenues of escape. Keep some distance between you and the vehicle in front so you can manoeuvre easily if necessary – about one-half of your vehicle’s length. (You should always be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of you.)
When stopped, use your rear and side view mirrors to stay aware of your surroundings. Also keep your doors locked and windows up. This increases your safety and makes it more difficult for an attacker to surprise you.
Accidents are one ruse used by attackers to control a victim. Following are common attack plans:
- The bump. The attacker bumps the victim’s vehicle from behind. The victim gets out assessing the damage and exchanging information. The victim’s vehicle is taken.
- The Good Samaritan. The attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. They may simulate an injury. The victim stops to assist, and the vehicle is taken.
- The deception. The vehicle behind the victim flashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victim’s attention. The attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the victim’s car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle is taken.
- The Trap. Carjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway waiting for the gate to open, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim’s car.
What to do
If you are bumped from behind or if someone tries to alert you to a problem with your vehicle, pull over only when you reach a safe public place.
If you are driving into a gated community, call ahead to have the gate opened. Otherwise wait on the street until the gate is open before turning in and possibly getting trapped.
Think before stopping to assist in an accident. It may be safer to call and report the location, number of cars involved, and any injuries you observed. You can avoid becoming a victim. Tactics and methods, as well as the types of cars most often targeted, differ from country to country.
Talk to local authorities, insurance firms and security firms about the scams and prevention procedures you should take. In all cases keep your cell phone with you and immediately alert someone regarding your situation.