Car Jacking

Car Jacking


“Car Jacking is defined as forcibly stealing a car while it is occupied, increased in popularity proportionately as more and more antitheft devices became included in autos”(Courtley, 2012).

Car thief’s look for several things when looking for whom to target:

  1. Someone who seems preoccupied and distracted (such as on a cell phone)
  2. Individuals who seem weaker than the carjacker or look like they will not flight.
  3. Vehicles with only a single occupant.

Situational Awareness:

  • Carjacking happens when the car is stopped.
  • 95 percent of carjacking happens in urban and suburban areas.
  • They occur more in broad daylight than at night.
  • A gun or knife is used in 75 percent of all carjacking incidents.

Be most alert at:


  1. Gas stations
  2. High-crime areas
  3. Freeway exit and entry ramps
  4. Less-traveled roads
  5. Intersections where you must stop
  6. Isolated areas in parking lots
  7. Residential driveways and gates

drive thru atm (1)

Strategies of the Thief’s:

Bump and Jump: A technique of a carjacker is to hit your car from behind and steal the car when you get out to exchange insurance information. If someone hits you from behind, call police and tell them where you are and what just happened.

Good Samaritan: A car may seemed disabled on the side of the road and when you pull over to help them, they carjack. Again, call the police first in this situation.

The Ruse Method: This is when a car drives by you or flashes its lights trying to tell you something is wrong with your car.

The Trap Technique: They follow you home then wait till you pull into the driveway, then they ambush you while you park or wait for a gate to open.

Surprise Attack: This is when the carjacker opened your car door and yanks you out.


Prevention Techniques:

  • Do not be distracted in high-risk areas. (no cell phone conversations or seat-dancing to your music)
  • Kepp your doors locked and windows up.
  • When stopped, use your rear and side-view mirrors to stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep some distance between you and the vehicle in front so you can maneuver easily is necessary.
  • It may also help prevent your car from getting jacked at intersections if you install the maximum legal tint on the front windows.
  • If you are bumped form behind or someone tried to alert you of a problem with your car, pull over only when you reach a safe public place.
  • Think before stopping to assist in an accident. Call 911.
  • If you are parked at a mall of office building and the lot seems abandoned, ask the building security for an escort.
  • If you are driving into a gated community that doesn’t have security, call ahead to have the gate opened.
  • In all cases, keep your cell phone or radio with you and immediately alert someone regarding your situation.


During Carjacking:

In some situations you may just be able to surrender your keys and step aside, if not you should perform a threat assessment. When you apply this threat assessment, you must decide the best course of action: compliance, flight, or fight.

Compliance- if you give up your car to the carjacker you should make sure you:

  1. Listen Carefully to all directions
  2. Make no quick or sudden movements that the attacker could construe as a counterattack
  3. Get you seat belt off. If this becomes violent, you don’t want to be pinned to your seat.
  4. Always keep your hands in plain view. Tell the attacker every move in advance.
  5. Inform the carjacker that the car is installed with a locator device that cannot be deactivated.
  6. Make the attacker aware if children are present. The attacker may be focused only on the driver and not know the children are in the car.

Fleeing- if fleeing seems like the best option, distract the carjacker momentarily and run.


Carjacking as abduction:

If the carjacker is in the car with you forcing you to drive by holding a weapon to you:

  • Draw attention by gradually drifting across the centerline.
  • Tap your brakes to set the brake lights off repeatedly.
  • Leave turn signal on
  • If its night, attempt to turn headlights off.
  • Run a stop sign or travel far below or above the speed limit.
  • If pulled over act as if you are under the influence, so you will have to get out of the vehicle, then you can explain to the officer what is happening.

If the carjacker is driving the car with you as the passenger:

  • Look for an opportunity when the car slows and is away from oncoming traffic to leap from the car.
  • Get sick, as if convulsing or vomit if possible.
  • Pull the emergency brake
  • Reach over and throw the car into reverse, which will stall the vehicle and distract the carjacker.

If put in the trunk of the vehicle:

  • Disconnect the rear brake-light wiring.
  • Use the trunk escape or release key, which is on the interior or the trunk in many new cars and glows in the dark.
  • Attempt to open the trunk
  • Try to sneak into the backseat by forcing the seat back to fold down.


Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.


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