The Anti-Vehicle Crime Association of Minnesota (AVCAM) is a non-profit organization formed to prevent vehicle crime through community awareness and education. Our members come from law enforcement, insurance companies and other organizations and businesses interested in preventing vehicle crime. AVCAM has no paid staff and operates solely with member volunteers. The AVCAM message is clear and succinct:  Lock Your Car.  Take Your Keys.  Prevent A Theft.

Carjacking Is Auto Theft

Carjacking is the violent form of auto theft because the victim has direct contact with the perpetrator.

Recent statistics show that:

  • A weapon was used in 74% of carjackings.
  • Firearms were used in 45% of carjackings.
  • Knives were used in 11% of carjackings.
  • Other weapons including blunt force objects were use in 18% of carjackings.

CarjackingCarjacking can occur anywhere, but is largely a big city problem like traditional auto theft. Carjacking of parked vehicles depends on the car owner being inattentive to their surroundings. Carjackers prefer the element of surprise. Most victims say they never saw the carjacker until they appeared at their car door.

Popular carjacking locations are parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, ATMs, hotels, valet parking, fast-food drive-thru, and outside of retail stores. Close proximity to a freeway onramp is a desirable escape factor from the carjackers prospective. Another popular location for the carjacker is a roadway intersection with a stoplight. A carjacker will jump out of another vehicle, pull open your unlocked drivers’ door, and force you to get out.

Types Of Carjacking

Carjackings can begin without you evening knowing it.  Here are just a few methods that have been used in Minnesota over the last few years.

  1. The Bump & Run - In this scenario the thief usually has a partner. Using their vehicle, the bad guys will bump your vehicle gently from the rear.  In your mind, you think there has been a minor collision.  Next, you exit the vehicle to assess the damage and exchange information and the other driver.  In the meantime the partner jumps in your car and drives off.   People have been conditioned to pull over to exchange information after an accident.  This creates the perfect opportunity for a car thief.   
  2. The Good Samaritan – The bad guys will often stage a fake accident.   You naturally stop your car to help in the accident and your vehicle is taken.
  3. The Fake Out – The bad guy pulls along beside you and waves to get your attention.  They indicate there’s problem with your vehicle.   You pull over to check it out – they steal your car.
  4. The Stalker – The bad guys follow you home, to work, or some other parking lot location. When you pull up to park, the carjackers pull in behind the victim’s vehicle blocking any potential escape route.  You’re trapped.  Your car is gone.

What You Need To Do To Avoid Being A Victim

  • Always park in well-lighted areas
  • Don't park in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy foliage
  • Use valet parking or an attended garage
  • As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars
  • Ask for a security escort
  • Watch out for young males loitering in the area (handing out flyers, etc)
  • If someone tries to approach, change direction or run to a busy store
  • Follow your instincts if they tell you to walk/run away to a busy place
  • As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car
  • If safe, open your vehicle door, enter quickly, and lock the doors
  • Don't be a target by turning your back while loading packages into the car
  • Make it your habit to always start your car and drive away immediately
  • In the city, always drive with your car doors locked and windows rolled up
  • When stopped in traffic, leave room ahead to maneuver and escape
  • If you are bumped in traffic be suspicious of the accident
  • Beware of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car or a flat tire
  • Be wary of panhandlers or people asking for directions and handing out fliers

If You Are A Victim – Try To Follow These Rules

  • If you are ever confronted by an armed carjacker don’t resist
  • Give up your keys or money if demanded without resistance
  • Don’t argue, fight or chase the robber. You can be seriously injured
  • Never agree to be kidnapped. Drop the cars keys and run and scream for help
  • If you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection to attract attention so bystanders can come to your aid and call the police
  • Call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information