Criminal taking a car from a person is not a new form of vehicle theft, but calling it 'carjacking' has caught on and has focused increased attention on the crime.  Basically a carjacking is when a thief takes the vehicle directly from the driver through the threat of force. 

Following these rules can help keep you from becoming a carjacking victim.

When Driving:

  • Always keep all doors locked and all windows closed.
  • Don't drive alone except when it's unavoidable.
  • Travel by freeway whenever possible; otherwise use well-lighted, well-traveled streets and check your directions ahead of time so you know where you are going. Avoid high crime areas.
  • When you stop in traffic, leave maneuvering room in front.  In other words, don't pull up so close to the car in front of you that you could not easily turn around the car.  Also be leery and on your guard when someone pulls this close to you.

When Parking:

  • Use a pay garage or attended parking lot whenever possible; otherwise park in a well-lighted area.   It is not worth getting harmed to save a few dollars.
  • Have the door key ready when approaching your vehicle, walk quickly and be alert.
  • Take a quick look around before getting in, especially in the back seat.  Once inside quickly lock all the doors.   If you have packages don't put them in the trunk first.
  • If someone is loitering nearby, stay away until they're gone or get someone you know to walk with you.

When your Vehicle is "Bumped":

  • Don't stop and get out.  Signal the other driver to follow, then drive to a police station or a busy, well-lighted area to exchange information.

If Confronted:

  • Don't resist giving up your vehicle.  Your vehicle is replaceable; your life isn't.  By any means necessary do whatever you can to avoid being taken along.   This may save your life.


More than 300,000 vehicles are stolen in California annually.  Most of these crimes could have been prevented by following a few simple, common-sense rules:

  • Always roll up the windows and lock all the doors when you park.
  • Never leave keys in an unattended vehicle.
  • Whenever possible, park in a well-traveled, well-lighted place.
  • Always put packages and valuables in the trunk before you leave the vehicle.
  • Invest in, and use, an anti-theft device - alarm, steering wheel locking bar, ignition cut-off switch, lojack, etc.
  • Trust your feelings when someone or something in a parking area makes you nervous; park elsewhere.   This your sixth sense warning you pay attention to it.
  • Have the vehicle identification number (VIN) of your vehicle etched into a corner window or some other flat surface of the vehicle.