Avoid being carjacked

 I can't tell you how many times I've taken a report on someone being carjacked. After so many, you can't help but wonder if there was a way people could have avoided these situations in the first place.

First of all, carjacking is legally defined (by most states) as:  The violent taking of a motor vehicle while the owner or driver is present in the vehicle, usually with a gun or knife. So below we'll talk about some basic precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim.  One of easiest things you can do is simply lock your doors.  It sounds so simple, but in reality, if people locked their doors, the bad guy would have problems getting in your vehicle in the first place.  Understand that most carjackers enter through the front passenger seat while the victim is sitting at a traffic light.  They simply open the door, enter, and point a gun at you and tell you what to do. So lock your doors no matter what area you are in.

Stopping directly behind cars in traffic is a no-no. When a carjacker comes, he comes quick, usually without warning. If you're vehicle is stopped directly behind another vehicle, you leave yourself no out. No way of simply pulling off. By leaving yourself room (at least a full car length simply so you can turn your wheels and accelerate off), you give yourself a chance to get away. Otherwise, you're forced to back up or hit the vehicle in front of you, which leaved you blocked in.

Staying alert. If you're alone on a road and see someone standing near a corner and the light is red, you may consider stopping before them, or maybe making a turn. At least pay attention to your surroundings and know who is around you at all times. This includes watching your rearview and side mirrors. We take for granted what's behind us; and a lot of shootings and carjacking suspects to their best to sneak up on us.

Just to reiterate on the last paragraph; always be alert of your surroundings. I've pulled up next to people (both on duty and off duty) and see people all the time starring straight, and they seem to have no idea that I'm right next to them. I'm not suggesting driving around paranoid, but you should always have an idea of what's around you.

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