Carjackings in Chicago pose a serious threat to executive protection professionals as well as the general public since most of our time is spent in, around and driving our vehicles each day. The statistics don’t lie. This past year carjackings in Chicago more than doubled from 2019 at an alarming number of 134% (City of Chicago Crime Data). This is partly due to several factors of many of the offenders are juveniles, which in carries less punishment. Many jueveniles are back on the streets in just a few hours. Next, with the COVID 19 scare, many people are wearing N95 or surgical masks to protective themselves from the virus. Well, who else might these masks protect? You guessed it, the criminals. It allows criminals the perfect opportunity to conceal their identity and blend in with their surroundings. Also, todays modern cars are equipped with anti-theft technology which make it difficult to steal and drive cars with out the keys in the ignition. Lastly, law enforcement agencies across the county have adopted stricter vehicle pursuit policies which has resulted in less apprehensions of carjackers.
What can we do to protect our clients, ourselves and families from this violent crime?
At Secure Options Consulting, LLC we’ve adopted our DDAAR countermeasure and solutions for carjacking prevention and mitigation. Deter, Detect, Avoid, Attack (last resort) and Report.
DETER: Be a good crime deterrent. Minimize cell phone usage in and around your car. Travel in groups and pairs when you can. Park in well lit areas, get in and out of your car with purpose, walk with confidence in a deliberate manner being aware of your surroundings, scan your location for particular threats, Keep your car doors locked. Criminals will size you up, if you portray a simple target, they will most likely capitalize on that.
DETECT: Early detection of possible adversaries is critical. The quicker you can process what you see of potential adversaries, the quicker you can make your next decision. Maintaining complete situational awareness in and around your car will allow you to detect warning signs and movements of potential carjackers. Be on the look out for bump and runs. A bump and run is when a carjacker “rear ends” your vehicle, one of the carjackers distracts you as you get out of your car to check the damage on your vehicle, the carjackers then jump in your car and then both vehicles drive away. A large majority of carjackings have occurred as victims were getting in or exiting their vehicles.
AVOID: Avoiding potential carjackers is a safe bet. If your detection ability is spot on, or you notice something suspicious, avoid the area and relocate whether driving or on foot. Taking alternate routes will decrease you being detected and an easy target. Don’t let your vehicle get boxed in on the road especially at red lights, allow yourself enough space in the event you need to take evasive driving action to avoid a potential carjacking.
ATTACK: As a last resort where you feel your life or another person’s life is immediately in peril, then attack the carjackers back to protect your life or another person’s life from death or great bodily harm. We don’t advocate this a primary counter-measure because most carjackers have the element of surprise on their victims, their action will beat your reaction, carjackers as of late have been working in armed groups of 2-4 individuals and are swarming around their victims making it even more challenging to fight off an attack.
REPORT: Should you find yourself involved in a carjacking incident or have appropriately avoided being a victim of a carjacking, when safe to do so call 911, report the incident, give the location where the incident occurred. Try your best to give a description of the carjackers. We like to begin our descriptions with if the carjackers were armed or unarmed, the gender and race of the carjacker and approximate weight. Next we will begin to describe the car jackers from head to toe. An example would be: Black hair, brown eyes, black jacket, blue jeans and white shoes. Additional information can include any identifiable scars, marks or tattoos that the car jackers may have visible. If there are multiple carjackers, try to remember the primary carjacker, as it would be difficult to focus on 4 of them. Lastly, know exactly what type of vehicle you have that has been carjacked, give a good description, direction of travel and make sure you have your license plate memorized and furnish it to law enforcement.
CHILDREN IN CARJACKED VEHICLES:
The question comes up frequently with our clients, what should we do if carjacked with our child in the vehicle? Should we fight back? Should we grab the child and ignore the carjackers? We have studied this extensively in Chicago. Vehicles with small children in them which were stolen or carjacked were abandoned once the children were noticed in the vehicles. Although this doesn’t happen often, there hasn’t been a child injured yet in a vehicle which was carjacked. All injuries and deaths in carjacking’s have stemmed from victims fighting back with the carjackers. Our recommendation is to continually try to communicate with the carjackers advising them that there is a child in the vehicle, ask and try to take the child out of the vehicle and tell them they can have the car. Some carjackers may allow you to remove the child, other carjackers may not want to take the car. Some carjackers may not be paying attention to your pleas because the are suffering from tunnel vision and their hearing is restricted and they take the car. As I stated earlier, they normally abandon the car once the child is noticed in the vehicle.
From the staff at Secure Options Consulting, LLC