Don’t Be a Victim of Carjacking

It's certainly an unpleasant situation, but it's best to be prepared.

There was a time when carjacking only happened when there are no occupants inside, but nowadays, you could be stopped point blank in the middle of the road, and the results can sometimes be fatal. However bleak the situation may seem to be, the Philippine National Police or PNP made a statement that “statistically, your chances of being a carjacking victim are very slim, and prevention actions can reduce the risk even more.”

Carjackers are indiscriminating when it comes to choosing victims, it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a target if you’re a girl, look Chinese or drive an expensive car. For all we know, you could be driving an old car model but still be a target of these operations.

Carjacker’s targets

  • Carjackers study their victims first and plan on how to steal their car.
  • Carjackers look for look-a-like cars to steal to be able to sell them easily.
  • Intersections controlled by stop lights or signs.
  • Garages and parking lots for mass transit, shopping malls, and grocery stores.
  • ATMs (automated teller machines).
  • Residential driveways and streets as people get in and out of cars.
  • Highway exit and entry ramps, or anyplace else that drivers slow down or stop.

According to the PNP, the usual modus is they “bump and rob” your car. They might bump the rear end of your car, then, when you come out to inspect it, one of their members would spring into action and jump into your car.

What you can do

  • If you’re bumped by another car, look around before you get out.
  • Make sure there are other cars around, check out the car that’s rear-ended you and who’s in it. If the situation makes you uneasy, memorize or jot down the car’s tag number and description; signal the other car to follow you. Drive to the nearest police station or to a busy, well-lighted area.
  • If you do get out of the car, take your keys (and purse or wallet if you have one) with you and stay alert.

Parking Lot

There is a video circulating on the web of how a carjacker works without even having to use a weapon. What he did was simply tie empty soda cans on the muffler, then the owner of the car arrives and starts the engine, driving for a few feet or so, she gets out to check her muffler. Her boo-boo is that she left her car door wide open for the waiting carnapper to get in and drive away.

What you can do when getting in

  • Approach your car with the key at hand. If you have one of those key-less entry system, don’t be in a hurry to unlock.
  • Make sure to go around your vehicle and inspect your car and surroundings first before boarding. Once inside, always make it a habit to lock doors and wear seatbelt as soon as possible. Don’t linger around.
  • Be wary of people asking for a ride, directions, or handing out pamphlets.
  • Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable, get into the car quickly, lock the doors and drive away.

When on the road

  • Drive in the center lane to make it hard for would-be carjackers to strike on your car.
  • When coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars.
  • Don’t stop to assist a stranger even if she’s smokin’ hot. You can help by driving on and pulling over a few kilometres away and call the authorities for help.

Parking

  • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if the car is locked. Put them in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Park in well- lighted areas, near walkways. Avoid parking near large vehicles or anything that may limit the view to your car.
  • Try to park in a garage with an attendant or security personnel.
  • Even if you are in a hurry, look around before you get out and stay alert to your surroundings.

If it happens to you

  • If a carjacker threatens your life with a weapon, don’t be a hero. Don’t argue. Your life is more expensive than your car.
  • Get away from the scene as quickly as possible
  • Remember the details: sex, height, race, age, hair, eye color, special distinctive feature, clothes, mannerism.
  • Report the crime immediately to the police

More tips:

  • Install a mechanical device that locks the steering wheel, column or brakes
  • When purchasing a vehicle, always ask if it is equipped with tracking/ security system.
  • Never leave important documents in your car, specially documents relating to that vehicle. What you can do is copy the vehicle identification number (VIN) and carry it with you at all times.
  • If leaving your car to a valet attendant or mechanic make sure to just leave the ignition key

Sometimes, the vehicle isn’t the only thing you can say goodbye to – I have a friend who forgot to stash his laptop in the trunk one night, instead he left it at the passenger seat, once he got back to his car, the passenger window was smashed and the laptop was gone. Be vigilant and don’t tempt others – your safety depends on it.

About Crizia Nicole

Crizia Nicole is a free- spirited young lady whose passion is to travel, dream and live. People would normally be surprised to know that beneath her girl demeanor there lies a car enthusiast. She balances her day job at a major television network and her passion for writing. Check her out on Twitter.

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