Friday, August 10, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Carjacking
Carjacking crimes are on the rise across the country, and the bandits are becoming bolder, using new tactics to steal your car. Seven's Tom Haynes takes a look at some of the carjacking tricks you need to know, so you don't become a victim.
WSVN -- Our cars are getting more and more sophisticated. Car alarms, automatic doors and key-less entries, and this is making stealing them harder and harder. Car thieves today have to get creative.
Frank Jackson of Coral Gables Police: "Be aware of that criminal element that is lurking behind you."
Carjacking is on the rise, an old crime resorting to new tricks that are quick, simple and, if you don't know what to look for, easy to fall victim of.
Frank Jackson: "You have individuals that are career criminals. They are good at what they do. They have a plan."
And the first plan in their bag of tricks, police call the bump.
Frank Jackson: "That is simply this individual bumping you from behind, causing a very minor accident."
When you get out of your car ...
Frank Jackson: "There may be two individuals in the car. The driver will step out, have an exchange, the other individual walks up, steps into your car and is gone."
Officer Frank Jackson says don't be a victim. If you are bumped, first, go to a well-lit area and then call 911.
Frank Jackson: "Try to give a description or location of where you are at. In the event that it is a carjacking, you have given us a description of the vehicle and a description of the individual. We now have a head start in trying to catch them."
And if they don't get you with violence, they try to get you with kindness by pretending to be a good Samaritan.
Frank Jackson: "They may be flashing the high beams at you. They may signal you to lower your windows. They may tell you you have an issue with one of your tires. You are thinking, 'Wow, what a great guy. He is going to help me.'"
But all the thief is thinking about is helping himself to your car.
Officer Jackson's advice, keep driving, dial *FHP on your cell phone to alert highway patrol and drive to a safe location to make sure everything is OK.
Frank Jackson: "The trap, they will follow you home. Once you pull into your driveway, they'll block your car in. Again they will jump out, take the keys from you, leaving with your car."
But you can out smart the trap. First, if someone seems to be following you, go to a safe location, like a police station or fire station or one that is well lit and populated, and try to take different routes to and from work. But sometimes we make it real easy for the carjacker by just giving them the opportunity.
Anonymous carjacking victim: "I had a gun in my head, and I'm still alive."
Miraculously, the woman managed to escape from this carjacker.
Frank Jackson: "They only need a second or two. You have given them the car running, the keys in the ignition, easy way for them to get into your vehicle and leave. Don't give them that opportunity."
So always turn off your car and lock it.
Tom Haynes: "And remember, if someone tries to take your car, let it go. Property can be replaced. Human life cannot."