Crime Prevention - Automobile Security
Carjacking: Caught Between A Steering Wheel
And A Gun
Carjacking is the forceful theft of an occupied vehicle. Most carjackings
happen in as little as 15 seconds, when the thief (generally armed)
suddenly appears and demands the driver surrender the car. The FBI
reports that the primary motives for carjacking are to secure
transportation after robbing the driver to obtain transportation to
commit another crime. Such as drug trafficking.
The FBI estimates that
approximately 25,000 carjackings occur annually, nationwide. The FBI
recorded approximately 177,500 carjackings between 1987 to 1992.
There are several different carjacking scenarios. Carjackers attack
motorists at traffic lights, gas stations, parking lots, fast food
drive-thrus and in other areas where they are stopped or exiting their
vehicles. Carjacking gangs often employ the "bump and run" technique in
which thieves in one car pull up behind an unsuspecting driver and bump
the driver's car. When the driver gets out to inspect the damage, the
thieves forcibly take control of the car.
Penalties For Carjacking
Federal Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992 (FACTA) makes carjacking a
federal offense, punishable by up to life imprisonment. The 1994 Crime
Bill increases the punishment for carjackers, calling for the death
penalty when an innocent victim is killed.
Car Jacking Eye-Openers
A FBI study found there are certain times
you are more likely to become a victim of a carjacking:
Most carjackings occur between 8 and 11 p.m .
Friday, Saturday and Sunday account for nearly half
of all carjackings.
More carjackings occur in December (27%) than in any
Fifteen metropolitan areas account for 90 % of
Parking lots are the favorite areas for carjackers,
followed by city streets, residential driveways, car dealers and gas
In cases involving the use of weapons, 90 % involve
Lock your car doors, even while driving. Many car-
jackings occur at red lights, stop signs or drive-thrus.
When going to the gas station, turn off your car and
lock your doors when going to pay the attendant.
When returning to your parked car, be aware of the
surroundings. Glance in the back seat and under the car before opening
Install an anti-theft device that has a "panic"
button you can activate if you sense trouble
Drive in the center lane when on highways: this
reduces your chances of becoming a "bump and run" theft victim.