(CBS Charlotte) — Most people probably do not think about getting carjacked while walking to their car — but getting carjacked is a very real possibility, any time you approach or exit your vehicle in public.
Incidents of carjackings have continued to increase since the 1980′s, and this particular crime is more likely to occur in cities compared to rural areas.
Nowadays, newer vehicles are equipped with anti-theft devices which makes it harder for a car thief to gain access to a vehicle — unless of course, the car thief gains access to the vehicle by way of the owner of the vehicle.
Typically, carjackings do not receive a lot of media attention — mainly due to the way law enforcement officials report the crime. Most agencies will record a carjacking as a vehicle theft or robbery, therefore making it difficult to determine when carjackings are on the rise and in what parts of town people are more likely to be carjacked.
During a carjacking, the car thief may opt to steal your vehicle while you are still inside. He may also use your vehicle to commit another crime, and again … you may still be inside the vehicle.
Here are the possible scenario’s of a carjacking, and what you can do in the event of a carjacking:
1. A carjacking may occur while you are driving. Carjackers have been known to crash into the rear of their victims car, and then to jump into the vehicle after the crash.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, move your car to a safe place and then exit the vehicle. If the accident was caused because of an impending carjacking, your car will probably be stolen, but at least it won’t be stolen with you still inside the vehicle.
2. You can become the victim of a carjacking while stopped at a red light. The carjacker could potentially jump inside your vehicle if your doors are unlocked or if your windows are rolled down. For these reasons, it is imperative that your car doors are always locked and that your windows are not rolled down enough for someone to jump inside your vehicle.
3. As previously mentioned, you can be carjacked while walking to, or exiting your vehicle in a public place or even in your own driveway. If this happens and the carjacker takes you hostage, it is important that you find a way to get out of the car as soon as possible — your life depends on it. If you are driving, rear-ending another vehicle in a busy intersection will force you to have to stop, and draw attention to your situation. Jump out of the car as soon as you crash and run to the nearest business for help.
(Related Article: Ways To Help Prevent A Rape From Occurring)
Ways To Help Prevent A Carjacking
- Parking in well-lit areas during the evening hours will reduce the likelihood of a carjacking.
- Opt to use valet parking, if available.
- While walking to your car, be aware of anyone who may be following you or may be lurking near your vehicle. If you notice anything suspicious, change directions and call 9-1-1 once you get to a safe location.
- Before you enter your vehicle, walk around and look under your car to make sure no one is hiding underneath or on the other side of the car.
- The first thing you should do as soon as you get into your vehicle is to lock the doors. You should do this even before you fasten your seat belt.
- Never sit inside your vehicle in a parking garage or parking lot. Upon locking your doors and fastening your seat belt, drive away immediately.
- In the event that you can not escape a carjacker, offer up your keys, wallet, and worthy possessions, etc. Hopefully, the carjacker will decide to only take your things and vehicle — and leave you behind.
- Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte