There are no single causes of carjacking, but the most common motivation for it is usually tied to the drug trade. Either the thief wants your vehicle to use in a robbery to obtain drugs, or they are already high on drugs and looking for "kicks". It is a crime of opportunity, and therefore one of the easiest to prevent.
How to Avoid Carjacking
Obviously, this is one of the most dangerous crimes, as it always occurs when there is a weapon present, or the threat of one, and there is always a criminal who is ready to back up threats at gunpoint with force. This is one of the most traumatizing crimes for the victim for this reason. Carjacking is becoming more popular in smaller municipalities as well -- its not just a big city crime anymore.
The Most Common Spots Where Carjacking Occurs
The most common spot, as you can probably guess, is when you are stopped at an intersection. The carjacker needs to be able to walk up to your vehicle. Other spots include: parking lots, underground garages, ATM banking machines, and highway off ramps. Another common ploy is for one vehicle to bump into you, and then steal your car when you get out. If you feel uneasy about getting out of your car to exchange driver information, then by all means go to a well lit, populated area.
Tips on Avoiding Carjacking
- Get a GPS vehicle recovery system in your car, like OnStar or LoJack. A Theft recovery system will pay for itself if you ever are a victim of carjacking. It could get your vehicle back as well as apprehend the criminal.
- Avoid parking in areas without lots of traffic or poorly lit areas.
- Do not stop at isolated payphones or convenience stores.
- Keep your doors locked and windows as rolled up as possible.
- Hide your valuables under the seat or in the trunk.
- Always look around 360 degrees when getting into and out of your car.
- Keep checking your mirrors for any suspicious activity: someone tailing you, or someone hanging around too close for comfort.
- Keep extra keys on hand, and when the carjacker demands them throw the fake ones at him and run.
- Always look into the back of your vehicle before entering it.
- Lock you door the instant you get into your vehicle.
- Install a dashcam. It might not prevent carjacking, but will help the police identify the perpetrators.