Prevent Car Jacking With Knowledge And A Plan
The first part of preventing a car jacking has particular, specific knowledge. Often you hear that there are cars stolen every day, or hour, or even minute in North America. It makes it sound like you might as well stay home.
Let’s do some math:
I want to show you that the odds are actually in your favor.
The U.S Department of Justice states that about 49000 carjacking occur each year. This works out to about one every 10 minutes. There are around 62 million cars in the US and a tenth of that in Canada, or 68 million.
How many automobiles there are on the road at any given moment? Let’s use a manageable number. As an average, would it be reasonable to assume there are a million cars on the roads of Canada and the United States at any given moment? That’s just under 2% of all vehicles on the road at any point in time.
This will do as an average for this example.
- One car jacking every 10 minutes.
- At any moment, there are 1 million cars on the road.
- Over 10 minutes, there (10x60x1 million) 600 million potentials.
- So the odds of getting your car jacked are 1 in 600 million.
- And these numbers are low, so your odds are even better.
- Congratulations! You’ll win the lottery first.
And you can do something about preventing car jacking.
Another piece of knowledge that would be useful to know is if your vehicle is on the Top Ten Most Stolen Cars list.
If you are on the list, it might be worth your time and money to add some extra anti-theft devices.
A Word About ‘The Bad Guys’
For the sake of this argument, we’ll divide the ‘bad guys’ (those who would steal your car) into two groups.
First are those amateur thieves that take a car for a joy-ride. They take advantage of opportunities like cars left unattended and running, at a service station, donut shop, convenience store, or even in your driveway.
Secondly, there is a more dangerous group. Professional carjackers. They will often want a specific car brand or type. They are most likely armed. They also like it to be comfortable and without drawing attention to themselves.
Read on for a plan to thwart both types of thieves.
‘Thwart’ Plan A
The best protection against amateurs is simple. ALWAYS shut off the engine, take your keys, and lock the car when you leave it, even when you gas up and then go in to pay.
Locking your car with valuables out of sight also helps prevent thefts of opportunity. Never take valuables out of the car and into the trunk when parking. Do that earlier. Please park legally.
A few simple habits like this should help keep your car where you want it.
‘Thwart’ Plan B
Plan B is specifically about preventing carjacking.
The first thing is to be vigilant in knowing what is going on around you. This is especially important in unfamiliar areas. This is also an essential step in safe driving. Frequently scan your mirrors and turn your head to expand your peripheral vision range. This will help you to identify anyone trying to sneak up on you to surprise you.
If you ever get rear-ended, a common tactic for car-jackers, stay in your car to assess the situation. Who hit you? Can you see them? If they seem like regular folks, like a family, and you feel comfortable getting out of your vehicle, do so. Remember to put on your emergency flashers and have the other driver do the same.
On the other hand, the vehicle that hit you is a large SUV with black tinted windows, and you cannot see inside the car, do not exit your vehicle. Lock your doors. Call 911 and report the accident.
Also, get the address of the closest police station. Report that you are afraid for your safety, and you may leave the scene and go to the police.
Leave your engine running and in gear with your left foot on the brakes and right foot ready for the gas pedal. The fact that your brake lights remain on may be enough to make them leave. Car jackers do not like attention.
There will most likely be little damage. They want your car, after all. Try to see the offending driver and any possible passengers using your mirrors. Let them exit their vehicle first.
If the other driver, alone or with another person, gets out of the car, look them over carefully. If you get any sense of danger, keep your car locked with your windows up.
If you see any weapons, leave the scene immediately. If they fire their guns, weave back and forth across the whole road while accelerating. Do not overdo this as you do not want to lose control or spin out.
Call 911 again and let them know you saw weapons, they’re firing, and you have left the scene in fear for your safety. Let 911 know what route you take on the way to the police station.
If the vehicle follows you, keep 911 on the line. Drive quickly, calmly, and safely. Drive with a purpose to the police, not just away from them.
Stay as focused as possible. Do not make any extra calls. Take note of any details that you can.
If any, get your passengers to get the license number and write down any details you notice. This activity will help to keep you and your passengers calm. Get the specifics to the police as quickly as possible.
Thwart These Other Tactics
Professional car jackers use two other tactics.
One is the Good Samaritan. One person is in a car that is broken down. When you stop and get out of your vehicle to help, the accomplice jumps into your vehicle and takes off. The other person then jumps into the broken down car and takes off. This leaves you stranded.
Instead of stopping, call the police to report the car at the side of the road.
In the other scenario, they come up behind you or beside you. They wave a license plate indicating that it is yours, or the point at your tire or something else on your car.
Look closely. Is it your license plate? Was yours missing when you got into the car? Would you have noticed?
What they want is for you to stop and get out to check. Roll down your window a bit to see what they want. Again keep your car in gear. Please do not move out of your car unless you know it is safe to do so.
If they try to get into your car when they are beside you, leave the scene. Remember as many details as possible of their vehicle and clothing. Call or go directly to the police.
A Last Word About The Bad Guys
Remember that the bad guys are tiny in number, and an event like car jacking is highly unlikely. With a plan in place, like the one above, it is even less likely.
The bad guys use surprise and feed off fear and panic. With a plan, you raise yourself out of those emotions because you now know what to do. This lessens your chance of becoming a victim because you have removed their best weapons – surprise, fear, and panic.
One more thing. Do not buy cheap car parts on the street or from questionable shops. Drastically under-priced details, mostly when offered for cash (no taxes), are very likely from a stolen vehicle.
Do NOT support that marketplace.
Report such offers to the police with descriptions of those making the offering.
Let’s stop fearing, and feeding, the bad guys.