Recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicates a significant 8.1% increase in carjackings from 2021 to 2022. In the wake of this alarming trend, George McDade, Chairman at Cook County Crime Stoppers, and retired Chicago Police Department Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy have provided crucial advice on how to minimize the risks of carjacking and related injuries.
Chicago, in particular, has experienced a stark increase in car thefts, with statistics from the Chicago Police Department showing a 68% rise since last year and a 200% increase since 2021. Experts identify several motives behind vehicle thefts, including using stolen vehicles for further crimes or dismantling them for parts. Roy pointed out that certain car models, particularly some Hyundai and Kia vehicles, are more susceptible to theft due to lacking engine immobilizers.
In response to a surge in thefts of these models in Chicago, the city has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers. McDade emphasized the importance of situational awareness to prevent becoming a target. He advised leaving space between vehicles at stop lights to enable a quick escape if needed.
Roy highlighted a common tactic used by carjackers, known as the ‘bump and rob’ technique, where criminals rear-end a vehicle to disorient the driver. He recommended driving to a safe location and calling 911 in such situations, rather than exiting the vehicle to check for damage.
McDade also cautioned against following routines that might make one an easy target and suggested separating house and car keys to prevent thieves from accessing one’s home. He advised noting down the license plate number to assist police in recovering a stolen vehicle.
In the event of a carjacking, McDade stressed the importance of compliance to reduce the risk of harm. He warned that resistance could escalate the situation, especially since carjackers are often armed and act in groups. If attacked, McDade advised protecting one’s head and face and emphasized the importance of personal safety over property.
Victims of carjacking should immediately contact the police, try to recall details about the offenders, and involve themselves in the legal process, including attending court hearings. Filing a police report and notifying the insurance company are also critical steps following such an incident.
These expert insights come amid a concerning rise in carjackings across the country, underscoring the need for heightened awareness and precautionary measures among vehicle owners and drivers.