By Robin Schmitt
Carjacking is a completed (or attempted) robbery of a motor vehicle by a stranger to the victim. It differs from other motor vehicle theft because the victim is present, and the offender uses or threatens to use force.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are on the average almost 49,000 completed or attempted, non-fatal carjackings in the U.S. each year. A weapon of some type was used in 83% of all carjackings. And in 47% of carjackings, a firearm was used.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization Report issued in August 2003 shows a 1.7% increase in completed motor vehicle theft. Although this report does not break out carjackings specifically for this year, it does indicate that motor vehicle theft is on the rise.
What is the profile for a carjacking victim? When and where do most carjackings occur? The U.S. Justice Department gives us this profile based on well over one hundred thousand carjackings and attempts:
- The typical victim is between the ages of 25 and 49 years.
- 60% of victims are male, 40% female.
- Unmarried people (persons who have never been married or are divorced or separated) are three times more susceptible to becoming a victim of a carjacking than those who are married.
- Carjacking incidents are highest in urban areas — almost 90% higher than in suburban locations and 450% higher than in rural areas.
- 26% of carjackings occurred at or near the victim’s home or a friend’s home.
- 20% occurred in a commercial place or parking lot.
- 40% occurred in an open area or near a public transportation area.
- 64% of carjackings occurred in broad daylight and 42% occurred at night.
- 44% of carjackings occurred within one mile of the victim’s home.
- Only 5% of carjackings occurred more than 50 miles away.
97% of carjacking offenders are male. 55% of the time there are two persons as offenders while in 45% of the cases, there was only one offender.
38% of carjacking victims offer no resistance. Of the 62% that do fight back, only 3% use a weapon to fight with. 16% of victims use a non-weapon, confrontational form or resistance to the assailant, such as attacking the offender, chasing or trying to capture the offender. 34% offer non-confrontational resistance, such as calling for help or screaming.
If you are a victim of a carjacking, 17% of you will sustain injuries; 4% will have serious injuries or be murdered. These are the stakes with carjacking.
10 Carjacking Safety Points
Now, what can you do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim? Front Sight Resort has compiled a list of 10 Carjacking Safety Points to help you stay clear from becoming a victim of carjackers:
- Have your keys in hand before you reach your car.
- Check around, and in your car before getting in.
- Immediately lock your doors.
- Have a cellular phone in your car.
- When stopped in traffic, always leave enough space between you and the car in front of you to make an emergency exit.
- When driving, keep plenty of following distance.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If in an accident or mechanical failure, stay in the locked car and call for help on your cell phone.
- Never unlock your door or roll down your window for a stranger.
- Never give any keys, other than the ignition key, to mechanics or valets.
Carrying a concealed weapon, with a permit, is the ultimate in protection for any form of carjacking episode. Every year, over 2 million Americans use guns to defend themselves. And the 31 states that have adopted Right to Carry Concealed Handgun laws show an average of 28% lower violent crime, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report 2000.
Front Sight Resorts provides an incredibly comprehensive 23-State Concealed Weapon Permit Course, backed up by the world’s best defensive handgun courses. There is no better way to learn the skilled defensive use of a handgun than with Front Sight training.
Above all, get trained in the personal safety skills that will help you defend yourself and your family, just in case it happens to you.
To learn the self-defense and personal safety techniques that could save your life, contact Front Sight Resorts.
Robin Schmitt writes articles on personal safety.
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