Carjackers use many tactics to try and steal your vehicle. A common scenario is for someone to hit your car from behind while you are stopped at a red light, causing a fake accident. One thing that can help you stay safe and possibly help law enforcement is to use your smartphone in a smart way. Your smartphone could be your most valuable tool to keep you safe and help law enforcement.
As most law enforcement sources suggest, first try and drive to the nearest place that has a lot of light like a grocery or other store parking lot where there are people around.
Grab your phone and record what is going on. Call a friend. They’ll be able to see what’s happening in real time and they can alert the police immediately, and then get out of the car. Do not stay and wait to be approached.
As you get out of the car, lead with your phone. Have your phone on video and record what’s happening behind you. Then if you have the app, “Find My Phone” turned on, throw the phone on the floor of the car and leave.
Using your phone in this way accomplishes two things, first, it documents the incident, possibly capturing video of the offenders and secondly it leaves a tracking device in the vehicle.
Remember, just walk away.
Here’s some additional safety tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of a carjacking
- Before getting into your car, walk with a purpose and stay alert, approach your car with your key in your hand. Look around and inside the car before getting in, especially behind the front seat. Be suspicious of people asking for directions and handing out flyers.
- Always trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uneasy, get into your vehicle quickly, lock your doors and drive away.
- While driving on the road. Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up no matter how short the distance or how safe the neighborhood seems.
- Check your rear-view mirror, especially as you slow down or stop in traffic. Pay attention. When you look through your rear-view mirror, if there’s one person in the car behind you, fine, it’s probably not a carjacking, because who’s going to drive your car away? If there’s two or more people in that vehicle, it may be time for you to start taking evasive action.
- When you’re coming to a stop. Leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense, trouble and might need to get away.
- Don’t stop to assist a stranger whose car is broken down. Help instead by calling police for help.
- When getting out of your vehicle, park in well-lighted areas near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, large vans or trucks or anything else that limits your visibility.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Even if you are rushed, look around before you get out and stay alert to your surroundings.
If a carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car. Don’t argue. Your life is worth more than a car.
Get away from the area as quickly as possible. Try to remember what the carjacker looked like, sex, race, age, hair, and eye color, clothing description and special features like visible tattoos.
Report the crime immediately to the police.
One final word. You must be ready. If you keep thinking something could happen, then you’re not completely caught off guard. Remember, there is no situation where you need to fight for anything else, but your life.