Thousands of cars are stolen every year, most frequently by professional thieves. This type of carjacker prefers popular models of high-performance cars. Frequently, these stolen cars are given to chop shops, where they are disassembled for the sale of parts. Stolen cars can also be exported overseas.
Some carjackers steal cars for joy-riding or to use as getaway cars. These cars can usually be recovered, but can suffer quite a bit of damage. Carjackers may bump you from behind and steal your car when you get out inspecting damage. If you are bumped on the road and feel threatened, stay in your car with the doors locked, call the police and if possible, drive to a well-lit, populated area.
Carjackers want quick jobs. If you can slow down the amount of time it would take to steal your car, it will likely become a less appealing target. And remember, your car is replaceable; you are not. If are confronted and/or threatened, do not try to put up a fight.
Try the following tips:
- Always keep windows shut (including the sunroof) and doors locked when parked and even while driving, particularly at night or through bad parts of town.
- Never leave your keys in the car and never leave your car unattended while running.
- Keep your registration information in your wallet rather than your glove box. For multiple drivers, hide it somewhere within the car that can’t easily be found.
- Avoid leaving personal property inside your car. Rather, store items in your trunk to hide them from view.
- Park in well-lit, populated areas when possible. Take note of any people lurking around parked cars.
- Write or paint your vehicle identification number (VIN) under the engine hood, trunk lid and on the battery. Etching it onto window panels will also deter thieves who are looking for cheap, quick turnarounds.
- Install an anti-theft system or alarm in your car. This may also qualify you for an auto insurance discount.
- Consider security devices like a steering wheel lock as an extra precaution.
- Always be alert while driving and be cautious of where you park. In the event of a carjacking, call your insurance agent to file a claim. Any information you can offer about the location, time and possible witnesses can help the claims process along.