Two carjacking attempts in the San Antonio metro area in four days may reflect a rising trend in the crime nationwide.
At a gas station on North Calaveras near West Ashby Place, an assumed carjacker allegedly shot the driver of the car he unsuccessfully attempted to steal. With bullet wounds in his left side, the victim called police and reported that he had been shot by people trying to take his car. San Antonio police are still investigating the nature of the incident.
In a second instance, a family was carjacked after pulling over to inspect what seemed to be an abandoned dog kennel on the side of the highway. The father stopped in the 9200 block of I-10 West and exited the vehicle to get a closer look.
A man then allegedly approached and attempted to get into the parked car while holding a knife in his hand and yelling at the occupants.
He reportedly tried to drive off with the wife and children still inside the vehicle, but the parking brake prevented this. The father returned to his car, removed the suspect, and retook the driver’s seat.
When police took the suspect into custody and booked him, they discovered the Texas man had 13 outstanding warrants.
Over the past two years, carjackings nationwide have risen dramatically. No Texas cities are on the list of the worst cities for carjackings. However, three California cities are listed, as are Albuquerque, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, and Newark.
In just the past 12 months, several publicized incidents have occurred in these and other large cities.
The spike in carjackings in Philadelphia apparently corresponds to the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate, which has quadrupled over the last six years. In one directly correlated incident, a rideshare driver reportedly shot his carjackers.
New York City carjackings have quadrupled over the last four years, according to the NYPD.
Meanwhile, New Orleans reported 39 carjackings as of January 21. With over 1,800 carjackings reported in 2021, however, Chicago leads the pack.
In Chicago, a group of youths allegedly stealing cars included one member who was only 10 years old. They allegedly managed to hijack over 12 vehicles before being apprehended. Another Chicago carjacker reportedly stole a state senator’s vehicle and several valuables at gunpoint.
While Texas cities are not suffering from these levels of carjacking, the University Park Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit has issued some suggestions to help drivers avoid being carjacked.
- Remain attentive to your surroundings.
- Drive with windows and doors locked.
- Park in well-lighted, busy areas.
- Do not dawdle while getting in and out of your vehicle.
- Keep your eye out for suspicious persons loitering in parking lots or sitting in parked vehicles.
- Check the area before getting out of your car in your driveway or garage.
- When you are stopped in traffic or waiting at an intersection, leave enough room to escape.
- Give up your keys or belongings if confronted.
- If forced to drive your vehicle during a carjacking, consider crashing so someone will call the police.
- Never leave a car unattended with the engine running, especially if children are inside.