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10 Tips To Reduce Your Risk of Becoming A Carjack Victim

Video Courtesy of WPTV News | W. Palm Beach, FL

Carjacking is an especially frightening crime as it usually involves a direct confrontation with a criminal element. Carjacking is when a criminal takes a motor vehicle from its driver by force, violence, or intimidation.” A carjacking occurs when criminals need to flee the scene of other crimes, as part of a gang initiation, robbery, or because some cars are easier to steel when the owner is there with the keys. The most serious and dangerous aspect of this crime is when the carjacker kidnaps, robs, rapes or murders the occupants of the carjacked vehicle.

As if there isn’t enough for law-abiding citizens to be concerned with, now we have carjacking crimes on the rise and more often than not this type of criminal is carrying a lethal weapon when perpetrating this violent act. Most of these criminal thugs could care less about your life so you need to have a strategic safety plan and be prepared to act quickly and defensively if this happens to you!

Prime Opportunities for a Carjacking

Most carjacking crimes happen when the victims are preoccupied and focused on what they are doing and not on what’s going on around them. Prime opportunities for this type of crime are shopping malls, grocery store parking lots, gas stations, car washes, ATM machines, residential driveways, large parking lots, parking garages, and intersections controlled by traffic lights. What are people usually doing at these locations? They are loading groceries or packages into the car; getting children buckled up in the backseat of the car; accessing cash from the ATM; and when stopped at a traffic light people tend to look at their cell phones. If there was ever a best time to carjack someone who is totally distracted, this would be the time!

10 Tips To Reduce Your Risk of Becoming a Carjack Victim

1.  Carry some type of non-lethal or lethal weapon with you and inside your vehicle. Always be alert and be aware of your surroundings when entering and existing your vehicle. When approaching your car, have your keys in hand preferably with pepper spray attached to your keychain. When loading kids, packages, or groceries into your vehicle, keep a watchful eye in the back of your head that someone does not come from behind and force you into the car or worse yet grab your keys and car while distracted.

2.  If you notice individual(s) loitering near your unoccupied vehicle as you approach, keep walking until they leave. It’s always better if you can walk to your car with another person especially at night. If that’s not possible, carry a self-defense flashlight or better yet a stun gun flashlight both of which can illuminate the area and if needed can be used to fight off an attacker and blind them giving you time to escape the area.

3.  When entering your car, quickly lock the doors, roll up windows and leave, especially when in an unsafe or unfamiliar place. Sitting there looking at your cell phone can make you more vulnerable to a heinous carjacker – especially if they have a weapon.

4.  Park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, large vans or trucks, or anything that limits your visibility.

5.  Never leave valuables in plain view even if the car is locked. This offers a lot of temptation to a criminal. It’s best to store these items in the trunk of your car.

6.  Trust your instincts! If something doesn’t feel quite right, it probably isn’t so leave the area. Be vigilant and again stay alert and stay aware of your surroundings.

7.  When stopped in traffic, leave plenty of space ahead of you in case you need to maneuver and escape the area. Be careful if someone accidentally bumps your car from behind. This could be a “bump” and carjack scheme where the driver and his partner are attempting to carjack you once you get out of your car to survey the damage. If you are in a deserted area, be leery as there is no real traffic or reason to have been bumped. This is a perfect scenario for a carjacker!

8.  When at a gas station and you need to go inside, always take your keys and lock the door first. Even if you are rushed take a moment to look around the area before you get into or out of your vehicle

9.  Be wary of people handing out fliers, panhandling, or asking for directions when you have your windows down. It’s tempting to give the panhandler on the corner a $5 bill through your window. However, this could be the perfect opportunity for someone to reach inside your car and grab the steering wheel or worse yet point a weapon at you. It’s best to keep the windows up and keep going!

10. Have your cell phone powered up in case you need to call 911 for help. And make sure your tank has plenty of gas so you aren’t forced to stop for gas in a less than desirable location.

If you are forced at gunpoint from your car and the carjacker demands your wallet and keys, it may be best to comply and throw both in a direction away from the carjacker so he has to retrieve.  Quickly escape the area to a safe place and call the police. Until you are in this type of situation it's hard to predict what type of psycho criminal element you are dealing with.  That's why it is important to trust your instinct, be aware and alert to your surrroundings and try to avoid some of these risky types of situations.

Defensive Weapons You Can Carry with You & Keep In Your Car For Protection

Have a Self-Defense Plan and know what to do if this type of crime happened. Just outlining the steps and seeing in your mind what actions you would take will make you better prepared. A recommendation I would make to women (and men) is to take a self-defense training class that can teach you what to do and how to protect and defend yourself in these types of criminal attacks. Check with local law enforcement to see if they offer self-defense training.

6 non-lethal & lethal defensive weapons you can use to thwart off a carjack attacker: (Click the links for information about purchasing)

1. Mace or Pepper Spray.

2. Mini-Badass Stun Gun – small enough to carry in your purse.

3. High Decibel 130db Personal Alarm

4. Mace Tear Gas w/Pepper Spray keychain

5. TASER Pulse

6. Firearm – with carry permit (check with your local firearms dealer)

Whatever type of weapon you decide to carry it is very important that you know how to properly use it and that it’s legal to carry in your area. Practice makes perfect so do that with your pepper spray, stun gun, TASER and especially a firearm. If you carry a firearm, make sure you have a carry permit and train often in how to use. Keep safety as a primary goal in carrying a weapon for self-defense. Also, know the potential implications of using a firearm to protect yourself.

Hope these tips give you some common sense ideas for keeping yourself and loved ones safe. Sometimes we get busy or the area we’re traveling in seems safe and we let our guard down. That is exactly what the carjacker is looking for – someone who has let their guard down!! Don’t be that person!

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