Car Jackings Surge In Minnesota, Sheriff Offers Some Tips To Stay Safe
A rash of car jackings in the East Metro area of St. Paul has the Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher issuing a public warning about them. Even though this has been happening in the Twin Cities this type of crime is liable to happen to anyone anywhere.
Many of the reports coming in happened to people as they were sitting in their cars or as they were walking to or away from their vehicles. Many of the car jackings were very aggressive in nature with many of the stolen vehicles having been used in a series of other crimes, including street robberies and additional auto thefts.
In most cases of a carjacking some type of weapon is used and usually at least two people are involved in the crime. One is usually threatening the victim while the other person takes control of the vehicle. In the cases in St. Paul up to four people would surround the vehicle at a time that they wanted to steal.
Sheriff Fletcher warns people to be on alert to tactics used by carjackers, such as:
- Suspects may block the street with a vehicle to prevent the victim from escaping a carjacking.
- A suspect may cause a minor collision and use it as a distraction. When someone exits their vehicle to check for damage, suspects steal the vehicle.
- Suspects use other distractions, such as asking for directions or help, and then steal the person’s vehicle.
- People have been driving up while someone is pumping gas and stealing their vehicle.
- Carjackers have been watching for vehicles that are left running to warm up and then steal the victim’s key fob from them when they go out to their vehicle.
Some general safety guidelines to keep in mind are to always stay alert and aware of your surroundings when you walk to and from your car, avoid sitting in your vehicle for long periods of time, park in a high traffic and well lit areas if possible and call 911 if you see any suspicious activity or are concerned for your safety.
I had a friend of mine who was rear ended at a stop sign and when she looked in her rear view mirror she did not feel safe getting out of the vehicle since she was by herself. So she pulled over into a busy parking lot right in front of a store where the man followed her and she got out of her vehicle once people were coming out of the store, She took a picture of his license plate and as soon as he saw other people by her car he took off. This is atactic used by many car jackers to make you get out of your vehicle and this happened in a small town. It is unknown what his plan was, but she went with her gut instinct which is always the best.