Carjackings on the rise: How to protect yourself and prevent vehicle theft

A rash of carjacking incidents in parts of the county has raised questions from the public about what people should to do prevent themselves from falling victim to such crimes. 

Just this week, Philadelphia Police officials announced they had received nearly 90 reports of carjacking incidents since the start of the new year. And there were 757 carjackings reported in all of 2021, up 34% from the year prior. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the uptick in carjacking incidents “one of the more disturbing trends that we have seen.” 

A Philadelphia Lyft driver with a license to carry a firearm shot two suspects who carjacked him on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
(FOX29 Philadelphia WTXF)

PHILADELPHIA CARJACKERS SHOT BY LEGALLY ARMED DRIVERS 3 SEPARATE TIMES SO FAR IN 2022

Meanwhile, Chicago Police have received 70 reports of carjackings year-to-date as of Thursday, and have made more than 56 carjacking-related arrests, the department said in an email to Fox News Digital. 

“Fifty six,” Brown repeated during an afternoon press conference. “Again, it’s January 13.”

Brown attributed the high number of arrests to the work of CPD’s vehicular hijacking task force. Last year, the department announced it would bolster the task force, adding 40 officers and strengthening community engagement efforts. 

Earlier this week in New York, three carjacking incidents were reported in Manhattan in the span of an hour.

Much like in Chicago, police brass in Philadelphia and other parts of the country have said they have deployed more resources to combat the scourge of carjacking incidents. 

A carjacking victim fired five shots at the suspect through the window of his car but an attempted robbery in January 2022, police said.

A carjacking victim fired five shots at the suspect through the window of his car but an attempted robbery in January 2022, police said.
(FOX29 Philadelphia WTXF)

And members of the public can take a number of steps to stop would-be carjackers in their tracks, according to advisories released over time by police departments across the country.

People should always have their cell phones handy and beware of their surroundings, police said. According to a flyer from Dallas Police, a carjacking victim should cooperate with the suspect, make note of any possible descriptions and call 911 when it is safe to do so. 

Here are some more tips from police: 

WHILE DRIVING

A series of carjackings took place in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. January 22

A series of carjackings took place in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. January 22
(WNYW)

Multiple police departments recommend that a driver travels in the center lane, which makes it more difficult “for potential carjackers to approach the car,” Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) writes in a notice posted online. 

Know where you’re going – and which roads you’re taking to get there – ahead of time, the California Highway Patrol, or CHP, advises. The department also encourages drivers to travel by “freeway or well-lighted, frequently-used surface streets” when possible. 

Multiple departments urge drivers to travel with someone else and keep their doors locked and windows closed.

“DON’T stop to assist a stranger whose car has broken down,” the MPD advisory states. A similar tip from Dallas Police urges drivers to be cautious of people asking for directions, for money, “or other possible distractions.”

The Dallas flyer warns: “They may be working with a partner, who will attempt to take your keys, and your vehicle.”

Several police departments encourage drivers to leave extra space in front of your vehicle when stopped in traffic or at a stoplight. 

California Highway Patrol asks people to “leave enough room to see the tires of the vehicle ahead.” 

A CHP advisory adds: “The extra space allows maneuverability for escape.” 

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) said attempted carjackers will sometimes carry out a “Bump & Run”– when someone strikes or bumps a person’s vehicle and then steals it when the victim gets out of the car to assess the damage.

CHICAGO POLICE MAKE 56+ CARJACKING ARRESTS, RECOVER 284 ILLEGAL GUNS IN 2022 SO FAR, TOP COP SAYS

“Stay inside with the windows closed and the door locked,” the PPD said. “If you feel a threat put your flashers on, signal the driver to follow you, and drive to the nearest police station.” 

WHEN ENTERING OR EXITING THE VEHICLE

 

Parking lots, public garages, residential driveways, gas stations, ATMs and poorly lit streets are carjacking “hotspots” PPD said, noting that drivers are also vulnerable when getting into and out of their vehicles. 

MPD urges drives to avoid parking their cars in areas where visibility is limited, such as near dumpsters, large vehicles or the woods. If a driver does choose to park their vehicle in a garage, they should try to do so in one that is monitored by a parking attendant. 

Drivers should otherwise park in well-lit areas, that are close to walkways or sidewalks. 

WASHINGTON CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER CRASHING STOLEN VEHICLE INTO RIVER DURING POLICE CHASE

“Even if you’re rushed, LOOK AROUND before you get out and STAY ALERT to the surroundings,” MPD said. “[T]rust your instincts if the situation doesn’t ‘feel right,’ and get away.” 

California Highway Patrol suggests people to stay away from their vehicles if a stranger is loitering in the area. 

CHP also urges drivers to hold their car keys in their hands, so they can quickly unlock their cars and quickly get in before re-locking the doors. 

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“Prior to entering your vehicle, quickly scan the interior to ensure everything is in order,” the CHP advisory states. 

And Dallas Police say drivers should “get the vehicle moving” as soon as possible. 

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