Risks in the Region: Safety Measures
Carjacking has become a very common crime in Tijuana. The majority of
carjacking are conducted for the purpose of stealing the vehicle. Occasionally,
a carjacking is conducted as a tactic to kidnap or murder someone.
Steps to Take to Avoid a Carjacking
Stay Away from Dangerous Areas. Some cities have known high crime areas
- stay away from these locations. Carjacking will take place in parking
garages, parking lots, at intersections, in isolated areas, in residential
driveways, congested areas, and traffic jams.
Stay Aware and Alert. Always be aware of your surroundings. If you
detect personnel and a situation that seems not right; start to prepare for how
you will avoid that person or get out of that situation.
Doors and Windows. Lock your car doors and roll up the windows. The
carjacker will look for an easier target - one with doors unlocked and windows
down. If he does try to carjack your vehicle he will lose the element of
Use Your Mirrors. When stopped in traffic, at a stop sign, or stoplight
use your side and rear-view mirror.
Avenue of Escape. Always plan for an avenue of escape. Have a direction
to drive should a carjacking attempt begin.
Maintain Distance Between Cars. When stopped in traffic, at a light, or
at a stop sign ensure you maintain some distance between your car and the car
in front of you. You should keep at least one-half car length open between you
and the car in front of you. This will allow you to turn the wheels and move
Cell Phone. Keep your cell phone handy and have some emergency numbers
already pre-punched in. Should you have an emergency or need to call for help
quick you will be ready. It can also be a deterrent, if during the progress of
a carjacking, the carjackers see that you have already called the authorities.
Methods Employed by Carjackers
"The Fender Bender". The carjacker will bump your vehicle from behind.
This can have the appearance of a minor fender bender. When you get out of your
vehicle to inspect the damage and exchange license and insurance information
your vehicle is then stolen. If bumped from behind pull over only when you
reach a safe public place.
"The Ruse". The vehicle behind the victim flashes its lights or the
driver waves to get the victimís attention. The attacker tries to indicate that
there is a problem with the victimís car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle
"The Staged Accident". The carjackers stage an accident with injuries
that compels you to stop and assist. Once you stop and exit your vehicle it is
stolen from you. It may be safer to report the accident and location on a cell
phone to the authorities.
"The Trap". Carjackers use follow the victim home, to work, or some
other location. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway or parking spot
the carjackers pull up behind blocking your escape. If you have a gated
driveway, stop in the road first to ensure the gate opens fully before pulling
"The Authorities". This is when you are either pulled over by a vehicle
and occupants who appear to be police, emergency services, or some other
authoritative personnel. You believe you are complying with someone in an
official capacity. Once you have pulled over your vehicle is stolen. This ploy
is less likely in the United States and common in Mexico.
"The Roadblock". Although not common in the United States, this is
something to watch out for overseas in less developed countries. A roadblock is
set up causing you to stop. The roadblock may even appear to be "official".
Once you stop, your vehicle is stolen.
What to Do During a Carjacking
Decision - In a matter of seconds you need to make a decision. Do you
escape, confront the carjacker, or comply with his demands? In the majority of
carjacking events the vehicle is the primary target; meaning that you as a
victim may not be harmed. If you cannot make your escape (usually in your
vehicle) then you will need to confront the carjacker(s) or comply with the
carjacker's demands. If he is armed or has you in an impossible situation then
do not confront him or show aggressiveness; let him have the vehicle.
Escape. If you are aware of your surroundings, have your doors locked,
windows up, have allowed sufficient room to maneuver your vehicle, and have an
plan of escape that you can quickly implement; then the conditions may be that
you can escape unharmed.
Confront the Carjackers. This is the less desirable course of action
available to you. Most times the carjackers will have picked the place, time,
and circumstances of a carjacking and the event is already underway before you
have sufficient time to react, decide or to prevent it from happening. The
carjacker is usually armed with a weapon of some sort.
Comply and Give Up the Vehicle. It may be best not to confront the
carjacker and simply get out of the car as quickly as possibly and let him have
A vehicle is not worth losing your life or getting seriously injured over. If
your children are in the car then ensure they get out of the car first before
it is being driven away. Let the carjacker know you have a child in the rear
What to Do After a Carjacking
Report the carjacking immediately. Have emergency phone numbers already entered
into your cell phone so you can dial them immediately. If you have "Low jack"
or some other type vehicle locating and recovery device that uses a GPS then
inform that company immediately. Some cars can be equipped with anti-carjacking
that will disable the car after it runs for a few minutes once you activate a
device either in the vehicle or on your person. Continue to be aware of your
surroundings and environment to ensure that you are not in harm's way.