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‘JACKED! Protect Yourself from Carjacking

January 28, 2018


By Mike Keleher
Carjacking, the confrontational takeover of a vehicle from the driver, has become another Chicago area trademark crime.  City Hall could use new visitor promotions like “Come to Chicago-stay because you are now on foot.”

The number of carjackings which have occurred in Chicago in 2016 and 2017 are greater than even the out of control homicide rates. In 2016 there were 663 carjackings in the city. Up to November of 2017 there have already been 756 carjackings reported. Strangely, in 2015 there were only 339 carjackings in Chicago.

Why has this crime rate doubled? Several theories have been advanced to include street gangs adding it to their repertoire to get vehicles for use in drug deals and gangland murders, police making fewer in person contacts on the streets to avoid criticism and media exploitation, and even a general sense of street thug empowerment believing they can get away with any crime they choose. 

Statistically the thugs may be right about being able to pull these felonies off without fear of arrest. One source lists of the 756 carjackings reported this year, only 45 arrests have been made. Those are pretty good odds if you are a bad guy knowing if you pull off the crime and leave the area quickly you are safe from arrest.

People generally do get their vehicles back after such a theft, but only after they have been crashed and abandoned. Ask any policeman you know, and they will confirm car thieves are the worst drivers in the world! They have no possessory interest in the “free vehicle” and tend to drive fast, crash often and walk away when they are done with the vehicle.

Common carjacking locations include:  gas stations where the keys are generally already in the car and the driver is outside the car, ATM locations where drivers exit the vehicle and walk up to the ATM machine and generally leave the car running.  Gang bangers and juveniles have always been fond of congregating at stop sign controlled intersections to pull off carjackings, and now even home driveways are targeted where the owner enters the vehicle and starts to leave the property but is interrupted by the thief. One of the long time Chicago favorites is the in-traffic bump into your rear fender carjacking. When the driver gets out to see the potential bumper damage, criminals from the bump car or another car can slide in and steal the target vehicle.

How do you avoid carjackings? Lock your doors and take your keys immediately if you exit a vehicle at a gas station, fast food restaurant or the bank. If you are approached, you can throw your keys in one direction and run in the other direction yelling “Help Police!”- they want the car, not you.  There have been several noted cases of thieves taking a car with children bundled into the back seat or other passengers on board when the drug addled thief did not look closely at their intended vehicle. They are generally released unharmed later-thugs don’t want kidnapping charges and responsibility for kids on their hands during their Grand Theft Auto moment, but it all may have been prevented with simple locked doors and the windows rolled up by the driver.

Pay attention to people on the street. Do they have a reason to linger near you, your driveway and your vehicle? Make eye contact-you may interrupt their take over fantasy if you are alert. If you see a group of young adults clustered at an intersection are your doors locked? Some people are embarrassed to hit the door lock and make the “clunk” noise while staring at kids who might be a potential threat. Don’t be embarrassed, it is your life.  

Would you consider rolling through a stop sign to avoid a confrontation with a group of potential criminals? It is a choice you can make if danger is imminent. Balance those odds of a potential ticket vs protection of human life. If you are in a neighborhood with lots of graffiti present, bars on business and residence windows and rundown buildings, your odds of being carjacked at the corner are greatly increased.

Your moving vehicle is hard to stop unless you do so.  If you mash on the gas and duck down you can accelerate out of an ambush zone pretty quickly. If bad guys are using pistols to shot at you they only have about 100 yards of effective range. At a slow 25 mph, you are still travelling at 36 feet per second. At 25 mph you will cover 100 yards in nine seconds-you can probably go even faster using that pedal under your right foot!

You can’t defend property like a car, even if it is your “good car” with deadly force. You can only use deadly force to defend yourself or others who are in danger of receiving a great bodily harm.  If you engage a robber with your gun it is because of the fear you were placed in by the attacker who is generally armed or who has announced they will harm you.  (The message that “I was in fear for my life” – and specifics for how you feared for your life will need to be repeated several times in the aftermath.)

Generally if all they want is your car it is less dangerous to you to just comply and give them the car. It’s even insured! 

If people in your vehicle can’t exit the vehicle or if the bad guys want you to drive them places, you have just given up control of your life and freedom and are now depending upon the bad guy to decide what happens to you, your family or friends. This is an ultra-hazardous situation and worth fighting over. You can turn over your car, but never turn over control of your person to someone else. 

Using situational awareness and some common sense, most folks can avoid becoming the a carjacking victim.

5 Responses to ‘JACKED! Protect Yourself from Carjacking

  1. Mike Keleher on February 2, 2018 at 11:18 am


    Bump and Jack story- with an 84 yr old victim. Are you kidding me? How proud those gang bangers must be..brave lads taking on an elderly woman like that…karma comes around boys.


    • Joseph Pavlik on February 4, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Karma is As they say "A BIT-H " and I have seen Karma come back to bite many of these animals to DEATH . Sooner or later criminals pay . The reckless conduct and out of control behavior makes them victims of themselves 

  2. Seamus on February 3, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Since the cook county jail is well below half full, Kim Fox won’t keep anyone locked up, and every bad guy is back out on an I bond in a day, why is anyone surprised? 

  3. Mike Keleher on February 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Armed standoff ends following carjacking of elderly woman, police pursuit in Algonquin


    Another noble criminal jacking an 83 year old woman at knifepoint. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.