In light of recent carjackings in neighboring communities, the Rocky River Police Department is providing the following safety information.
Carjacking is a form of robbery--a theft by use of force or a threat of force--against occupied motor vehicles. Many times carjacking involves an armed attacker, making the crime especially volatile and dangerous. Avoid being a carjacking target with these precautions:
• Always have your mobile phone handy—and charged.
• Avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas, such as poorly lit areas, isolated roads and intersections, and desolate areas of parking lots.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Pay special attention to people who seem to be lurking or cars that follow you suspiciously. Look on both sides, under, and inside your car before unlocking and entering it. Call 911 and use your key fob or other car alarm if you feel a threat approaching.
• Be wary of how carjackers lure victims. These include bumping your car, pretending to be stranded motorists or flashing their lights as if there were something wrong with your car. In each of these scenarios, you might be tempted to pull over—only to have your car taken. Stay inside with the windows shut and the door locked and, if you feel a threat, drive to the nearest police or fire station.
• Leave plenty of room for escape. When stopped in traffic, waiting in line at the drive-through, or to enter the roadway, make sure there is enough room between you and the car in front of you to drive away.
• Practice safe parking. Stick to well-lit areas. If you have any doubts about where you parked after the fact, find a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
• Keep your car doors locked, even when you are in the car and in traffic. Consider keeping your windows rolled up, too.
• Don't leave your car unlocked, running, or unattended at gas pumps, air pumps, or while loading or unloading. These are opportunities for someone to jump in your car and drive off, possibly injuring you or others.
• Don’t stop at ATMs or other isolated areas, which might put you and your bank accounts as well as your car in danger. If you do, have your transaction and cards ready to minimize the time you are stopped; pull your car as close to the ATM or window as safely possible to prevent a would-be attacker from getting to the driver's door. Check your mirrors regularly to see anyone approaching.
• Pay attention to your surroundings. If you sense someone or something is wrong when you are headed toward your car, stop and return to a place of safety.
• Follow these precautions...even during daylight hours.
• If someone attempts to steal your car using force or threat of force, surrender your car without a fight. Don't argue; your life is worth more than a car. Take note of the suspect's appearance, direction of travel, and if he is alone or possibly with someone in another car. Call police as soon as it is safe to do so.