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Don’t Be a Victim of a Carjacking

Carjackings are on the rise across the country. Carjacking is more serious than car theft because it is a federal offense punishable with 15-25 years, depending on the gravity of the crime. If death occurs, a carjacker could be sentenced to life in prison or even receive the death penalty. In contrast to car theft, carjacking is frequently committed in the presence of the victim and usually involves physical violence or the threat of violence toward the victim.

What is disturbing is lately carjackings are being committed by juveniles between the ages of 11 and 17. Juveniles are more impulse-driven and irrational and likely to hurt or kill their victims, especially if they have a weapon in hand. Teenagers have been idle, unable to participate in activities because of the coronavirus.

Authorities say the numbers have exploded during the pandemic. Wearing masks make criminals more daring since they cannot be well-identified. With used car prices skyrocketing, stolen cars are a profitable commodity for criminals.

Carjackers use the element of surprise by accosting a victim as they get in or out of their car at service stations, parking garages, stop light intersections, shopping centers, and even in their own driveways. One common modus operandi is they bump a car, making it appear as an accident. When the driver gets out of their car to check the damage, the carjacker(s) either jump in the driver’s seat and drive away or accost the victim and force them to hand over the car keys. They also have been known to pretend they have car trouble and hail another driver to stop and help them.

Here are tips to avoid being a victim of a carjacking from FirstTimeDriver.com and the National Motorists Association.

  • Wherever you decide to stop your car, always be aware of your surroundings.
  • If possible, park your vehicle close to the entrance of your stopping place, whether it be a bank, store, restaurant, etc.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  • Once you get into your car, lock the doors and leave right away. Don’t linger to check your cell phone or call someone.
  • Always lock your doors while driving.
  • Don’t stop for hitchhikers or strangers with stranded cars on the road; instead, call for help once you’re in a safe location.
  • Park your vehicle inside your garage and always shut the garage door.
  • If you park your vehicle in your driveway, consider installing outdoor lighting and/or install a surveillance camera toward your vehicle.
  • Equip your car with an anti-theft device.
  • If you are threatened with a weapon, don’t resist. Your life is more important than your car! Take note of as many physical characteristics of the carjacker as possible so you can provide a detailed report to the police.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned. CarouselPreowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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