As carjacking crimes continue across the area, Chicago police detailed what to do if people find themselves victims of their cars being stolen and how to prevent being involved in that situation.
If you find yourself a victim of a carjacking, here's what police say to remember:
- Give up your car and leave the scene
- Avoid verbal and physical altercations
- Take note of the carjacker's description and their vehicle's description
- If there's a child in the car, tell the carjacker "my child is in the car"
- Call 9-1-1 immediately
Chicago police warned residents to be aware of anywhere a driver slows down or stops as it could be a sign of an attempted carjacking. Other common areas of carjackings, according to officials, are in residential driveways, parking lots and garages, gas stations, ATMs and intersections with stop lights.
Some carjackers will bump into the rear end of another car so the driver pulls over and leaves the vehicle to asses the damages, which gives an opportunity for someone to easily steal the car, police said.
Officials also warned to not stop for stranded vehicles on the side of the road as it could be someone waiting to carjack another vehicle. Instead, police said to call 9-1-1 and note the location of the vehicle.
In order to prevent a carjacking, here's what police say to do:
- Do not wait in your car in the driveway of your home
- Park in well-lit, visible areas
- Keep windows up and doors locked
- Equip your vehicle with anti-theft or GPS for tracking
- Allow yourself room in traffic to move around other cars and avoid getting "boxed in"
- Keep your cell phone in your pocket, rather than in the car
In a press conference earlier this year, Chicago police advised that people be aware of their surroundings when traveling around the city. Police Supt. David Brown said traveling with another individual in the passenger seat is best, when possible.
"One of the tips that we try to give victims is to be aware of your surroundings," Brown said. "Try as much as possible when you are going from a store, from your car and back to your car to look around to see if you see any suspicious activity. If you see something suspicious, this is where you got to call 9-1-1 and say there was a suspicious car behind my car, instead of walking up and having an armed confrontation."
Brown added that the groups of carjackers tend to travel in pairs or fours, and are typically canvassing individuals for an opportunity to arise. The police superintendent said offenders are typically also traveling in cars.
He noted that some carjackings have made their way to Chicago suburbs, so CPD is making the effort to reduce the crimes a regional collaboration. Police believe the offenders are in Chicago, travel to the suburbs, then back to the city.
Brown said, as of earlier this year, the city's carjacking crimes have been committed by individuals between the ages of 15 and 20, on average, with one offender as young as 12. He called on others working with the city's young people to contribute to the effort, saying it takes more than simply law enforcement to curb the problem.
"Law enforcement cannot do this alone. We need everyone -- teachers, mentors coaches parents, the faith community and others -- to help us," Brown said.