Detroit has long been known as The Motor City. But it now has a new auto-related nickname: Carjack City.
Carjackings have become so pervasive in Detroit, reports The Associated Press, that residents are in fear of stopping for gas and have started rolling stop signs in bad parts of town to avoid potential armed car thieves. But whether you live in Detroit, Newark, New Jersey (which actually has a higher per capita rate of carjacking than Detroit), or anywhere else, there are some easier ways to avoid getting carjacked than running stop signs.
Here are five tips to keep you from being the victim of a carjacking.
- Know the hotspots. According to a U.S. State Department Report, the most likely places for carjackings are: lesser traveled roads in rural areas, intersections where you must stop, isolated areas in parking lots, residential driveways/gates, and traffic jams or other congested areas. When in those areas, use extra caution and be aware of your surroundings.
- Don't get tricked. One of the most common tricks used by carjackers, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, is the "bump and rob" in which a car bumps you in traffic, and when you stop to inspect the damage, the driver or a passenger jumps into your car and drives off. The LAPD recommends taking stock of the situation before exiting your vehicle in any fender bender-type accident. If things don't feel right, signal for the other car to follow you to the nearest police station or to a nearby well-lit area.
- Don't be a target. The New Orleans Police Department recommends putting packages, purses and other valuables on the floorboard rather than on the passenger or rear seat where they may attract attention.
- Don't lead a carjacker to your house..The Youngstown Police Department cautions that if you notice a vehicle following you home, drive past your house and around the block. If the car continues to follow you, call police or drive to the nearest police station.
- Remember that your life is worth more than your car. As in any robbery situation, if worse comes to worst remember that no amount of money or property, including a car, is worth your life. Don't argue with the carjacker, or attempt to fight them if they are armed.
The best way to prevent being carjacked is to always be alert. Carjackers may be lurking anywhere: Day, night, in the streets, and even on the internet.
- Crime Prevention Resources (FindLaw)
- 10 Cities With the Worst Car Theft Rates (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Mom Fights Off Carjacker With Kids in the Van (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Steelers' Michael Adams Stabbed in Carjacking Attempt (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)