The resident of Slidell, LA (my hometown) are feeling safer tonight after Slidell Police reported they arrested a suspect in a series of carjackings. For weeks, residents have been on edge because of a string of recent carjackings targeting women after dark. In each of the five incidents victims were taken at gunpoint to ATM machines, forced to remove cash and hand it over.
Carjacking is a big problem in cities across the U.S. In fact, there is an attempted motor vehicle theft every 28.8 seconds. Carjacking occurs most frequently in parking lots or large commercial areas where cars are parked. Some examples include the mall, restaurants, big box stores, car wash and ATM's. An attack is most likely to occur when the owner is entering or exiting the parked vehicle. The majority of completed carjackings or attempts occur within five miles of the victim's home.
Carjacking is a crime of opportunity. Most attackers are male, while most victims are female. Most victims report being preoccupied or distracted prior to being attacked. To reduce your chances of being carjacked, I have listed some common sense tips to help:
Only park in well lit, high traffic areas.
Stay clear of isolated or secluded areas.
Try not to drive alone, especially at night. If you must consider using valet parking or an attended garage.
As you walk to or from your car be aware of your surroundings.
Most shopping centers or malls provide free security escorts, take advantage of this.
Trust and follow your instincts, if it doesn't feel safe, run away to a well populated place.
As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car.
If safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors.
Don't sit in your car, start it up and drive away immediately.
Keep doors and windows locked at all times, especially when stopped in traffic.
Leave room ahead when stopped in traffic in case you need to maneuver to safety.
Be suspicious of the stranger who offers to help repair a flat tire or engine problem.
If you ever find yourself confronted by an armed carjacker stay calm and don't resist; hand over your keys and money. Concentrate on capturing the best mental description that you can.
Never allow yourself to be kidnapped or taken to another location by the carjacker. Run, scream for help, cause a scene, fight for your life, do whatever you can to avoid being taken to another location.