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Protect yourself from becoming a carjacking victim

Updated December 23, 2009

Although the rate of carjacking incidents in Cerritos is very low, it is important that people know how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of this crime. According to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center, while areas with many people and vehicles are oftentimes more appealing to a criminal, residential areas are not exempt from such crimes.

Carjacking victims are rarely given any warning, as suspects act quickly and often irrationally. The reasons for taking a vehicle by force can vary, but may involve a need for a suspect to escape immediately after committing a crime. Suspects who commit a carjacking, which is a robbery, are extremely dangerous, and are most often not afraid to violently confront someone and forcibly take their property.

The most important thing to remember if confronted by a carjacker is to never resist the suspect’s efforts to take your vehicle. You should however, do everything possible to avoid being forced to accompany the carjacker.

Following are some tips to help make you less vulnerable to a carjacking.

  • When driving, keep all of the doors locked and close all of the windows if possible.
  • Drive with a companion whenever practical, as people in groups are statistically less likely to be approached by a robber.
  • Plan your route before a trip and always travel by freeway or on well-lit, frequently used surface streets.
  • When you stop your vehicle in traffic, leave enough room to see the tires of the vehicle ahead. This extra room allows you maneuverability should you need to escape.
  • If you are "bumped" by another vehicle and suspect it was intentional, do not stop or get out of your vehicle. Instead, signal to the other driver to follow you, and locate a secure and reasonable place to exchange information where many are people present.
  • When parking, select well-lit areas. Use commercial garages with attendants if possible.
  • Take a quick look at your surroundings before you get in or out of your vehicle. If something doesn’t look right, trust your instincts and keep driving, especially if there is someone loitering nearby.
  • When you approach your car, quickly scan the interior to make sure everything is in order. Have your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock and enter your vehicle immediately. Once you enter your vehicle, lock all of the doors.

By paying attention to your surroundings and taking a few precautions, you can minimize the risk of becoming a carjacking victim.

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