76ºF

How to survive being carjacked

Recent crimes plague Central Florida

A rash of recent carjackings across Central Florida has some worried about their safety as they go about their everyday lives. 

A carjacking takes a few moments, but as recent cases have shown, the outcomes can be devastating. 

Though each situation is different, experts say there are a few things motorists can do to protect themselves.     

News 6 spoke with officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office on tips to ensure your safety at all times. 

News 6 spoke with officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office on tips to ensure your safety at all times.
Question: What should a motorist be aware of when parking and entering your vehicle?
Answer: When walking towards your vehicle walk with purpose and stay alert. Approach vehicle with the key in hand. Look around and inside the vehicle before getting in. Be aware of people asking for directions or handing out fliers.

Trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uneasy, get into the car quickly, lock the doors and drive away.

When parking, park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, large vans or trucks, or anything else that limits visibility. Never leave valuables in plain view, even if the vehicle is locked. Put them in the trunk or out of sight. Try to park in a garage with an attendant. When in a rush, look around before you get out of your vehicle and stay alert to the surroundings. Dial 911 if you see someone suspicious and don’t feel comfortable, and wait on deputies before exiting the vehicle.


Question: How can a motorist protect themselves while they are driving? 
Answer: When driving on the road, keep your doors locked and windows up, no matter how short the distance or how safe the neighborhood.
When you're coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and may need to get away. Drive in the center lane to make it harder for would-be carjackers to approach the vehicle. Avoid driving alone. Go with someone whenever possible, especially at night. Don’t stop to assist a stranger whose car is broken down. Instead, dial 911 and call deputies to help.


Question: What should a motorist do if they are carjacked with their child? What should they tell the person? 
Answer: First thing: Make the attacker aware if children are present. Give up the vehicle freely, after having your child. Follow the attacker’s directions; make no quick or sudden movements that the attacker could construe as a counterattack. Always keep your hands in plain view and tell the attacker of every move you’ll make in advance. Your life is worth more than a car. Try to remember what the carjacker looked like. Report the crime immediately before contacting family members.


Question: Is it important for the motorist to know their license plate and other identifying information?
Answer: No, by providing police with who the vehicle is registered to, they can obtain that information. What is very important for the motorist to remember is when reporting the crime, describe the attacker or attackers as best as they can. Try to recall height, weight, scars, tattoos, hair and eye color, facial hair, build and complexion.

If the attacker is involved with another vehicle and individual, please remember to describe the attacker’s vehicle, license plate number, color, make, model, and year, as well as any marks like scratches, dents, damage or personalization.