How to Avoid Becoming a Carjacking Victim

carjackingOne of a parent’s scariest scenarios, a carjacking, played out over the radio earlier this month in Denver.

I couldn’t tear myself away as the anchors gave their play-by-play of the incident, which included a four-year-old boy trapped in his family’s SUV. Fortunately, the lad wasn’t hurt. An officer was seriously injured during the chase but is expected to make a full recovery. It could have been much worse.

The thought of my sons stuck in that situation haunted me. So I reached out to local law enforcement to give parents actionable tips to prevent becoming part of such a nightmare. The fine folks at Lone Tree Police Department in Colorado provided the following information to Daddylibrium.

Where Do Carjackings Take Place?

Stay Alert. Be aware of your environment. Carjackings are more common in high-crime locations, lesser traveled roads and isolated areas like parking lots. If you can’t avoid these areas, mentally prepare to protect you and your family. Keep some distance between your car and the car ahead of you as a possible escape route – at least one half a car’s length. Regularly check your rear and side view mirrors to be aware of your surroundings.

Always keep your doors locked and windows rolled up. That makes it harder for a potential carjacker to surprise you.

Be aware of some common ruses used by car criminals. One involves the driver behind you flashing his lights as a way of asking for help. If you pull over to lend a hand your vehicle could be taken. A similar stunt finds the carjacker staging an accident or injury, hoping your good samaritan instincts take over. Better to call for help than do so yourself and be open to a criminal assault.

One nasty trick has the carjacker bumping your car from behind. You’ll naturally want to get out to assess the damage and exchange insurance information. Instead, pull over only when you find a safe public place.

What if You’re Involved in a Carjacking?

If a carjacker manages to invade your vehicle do not resist or confront the criminal. Get you and your passengers out of the car. Don’t make the mistake of trying to save your car from a theft. Dial 911 as soon as you are safe.

Never attempt to chase or drive after the carjacker, and don’t try to apprehend him or her yourself.

Parents have enough on their minds every day, even while driving, to make recalling every tip here harder. Hopefully, you’ll never have to think back to this post. Still, it never hurts to know the best practices in a nightmare scenario like a carjacking.

Photo credit: RossWhite via photopin cc

Comments

  1. says

    Yikes. Makes me anxious even to read it, but I grew up in Los Angeles so I think I already internalized a lot of these rules. I never stop to help people, I always have my doors locked, and I do my best to always have an “escape route” just in case. Very glad I haven’t needed any of them — and instead have people tell me I’m paranoid — but I’d rather be paranoid than regret being too trusting. Ah, what a world.

    • Christian Toto says

      Growing up in New York ingrained some of this information in me … a sad state of affairs, yes, but count me in on the Paranoia train!

  2. Maureen Toto says

    ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. WHEN YOU GET GAS AND LEAVE A PURSE OR KEYS IN THE CAR, NOT A GOOD IDEA. TAKE THE KEYS AND LOCK THE DOOR AS YOUR FILLING THE TANK. STAY SAFE TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY.

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