Carjackings on the Rise: Experts Offer Tips to Stay Safe
Carjackings have become a serious concern in recent years, with statistics showing a significant increase in these crimes. According to new data from the FBI, carjackings rose by 8.1% from 2021 to 2022. While some victims escape unharmed, others are violently attacked. To help people avoid these incidents and minimize harm, crime experts have shared some valuable tips.
Firstly, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Offenders often look for secluded areas or bottlenecks, so paying attention to your environment is crucial. If you feel uncomfortable or believe you are being followed, call 911 and drive to the nearest police station. The operator can dispatch officers to your location or provide you with directions to the nearest station.
Leaving extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you at traffic lights can provide an opportunity to drive away if you see people approaching your car. Criminals sometimes use the tactic of rear-ending or “bumping” a vehicle as a way to distract the driver and create confusion. If this happens to you, do not get out of your car to assess the damage. Instead, drive to a safe location and call 911.
In some cases, car thieves may follow their victims before attempting a carjacking. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to a police station or use your horn or lights to attract attention from nearby officers. Remember to take note of your license plate number and keep it separate from your car keys. This can help law enforcement find your vehicle faster if it is stolen.
To minimize harm, avoid attaching house keys to your car keys. Thieves may search your car and find personal identification, which could give them access to your home. Always comply with an offender’s requests if you cannot escape the situation. Your belongings can be replaced, but your safety is paramount. If physical violence is involved, cover your face and head with your arms and stay away from the vehicles and tires.
After a carjacking incident, call the police and provide them with as much information as possible. Try to remember any distinguishing characteristics of the offenders, such as their height, weight, or distinctive features like shoes or clothing. File a police report and notify your insurance company of the incident.
While carjackings are a concerning trend, following these tips can help reduce the risk and ensure your safety. Remember to stay vigilant, trust your instincts, and prioritize your well-being in the event of a carjacking.