“Carjacking” refers to a motorist’s robbery that results in the motorist’s vehicle being stolen. When you stop at traffic signals, enter and exit your vehicle or just about any other time you stop your vehicle, you become vulnerable to this crime. With awareness and planning, you can reduce your risk of becoming a carjacking victim.

Before You Go

  • Select a safe route — choose well-lit and well-traveled streets.
  • Have an alternate route in mind in case of problems.
  • Keep your vehicle in good repair and be aware of your fuel level — always keep your tank at least half full.
  • Travel with a friend, when possible — you’re more vulnerable alone.
  • Keep your doors locked and windows up.
  • Keep valuables out of view.
  • Keep your car key separate from your house keys.
  • Don’t leave vehicle registration, mail, bills or other items with your home address in the vehicle.

Getting There

  • Be aware of activity around you, especially people on foot near your vehicle.
  • Be suspicious of people approaching your vehicle for change, directions, handing out flyers, etc.
  • If someone asks for assistance (stalled vehicle, etc.), don’t get out of your vehicle. Go to a safe location and call the police.
  • Travel in the lane closest to the center of the road whenever legally possible.
  • Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and other vehicles to allow yourself a way out.

Upon Your Arrival

  • Park in busy, well-lit areas.
  • Look around for suspicious persons and possible hiding places (darkened doorways, etc.) before turning off your engine.
  • If in doubt, don’t get out of your vehicle — drive away and park someplace else. Report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.
  • Lock your car and take your keys with you — even for brief errands.
  • Be especially cautious when using ATMs.

Returning to Your Vehicle

  • Be aware of persons loitering near your vehicle.
  • Be aware of any tampering to your parked vehicle.
  • If you think your vehicle has been tampered with, don’t get in it and notify the police immediately.

What to Do in a Carjacking Situation

  • Keep in mind that resisting or attempting to flee may place you in great danger. Your personal safety — not your vehicle’s potential loss — must always remain your primary concern!
  • Since carjackers often display or threaten with a firearm and can inflict serious injury or death, Submit to the carjacker and surrender your vehicle to decrease your risk of personal harm.
  • Never assume your vehicle can stop a bullet. Resistance to the carjacker’s demands may escalate the situation and increase your risk of personal harm.
  • Avoid reckless heroics — such actions may endanger you and innocent bystanders.
  • Notify the police immediately.