November 21, 2023

Carjackings in DC, MD, VA

Carjackings On the Road: Stay Alert, Stay Safe, Walk Away

Carjacking, unfortunately, is an all-too-common occurrence in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. If you haven’t been monitoring local headlines, the number of carjackings in D.C. has doubled from last yearMaryland and Virginia report the same trend, as cars are being stolen from drivers even while they are actively driving.

 In 2021 alone, Maryland witnessed a sharp increase in carjackings, with 347 incidents in the first six months of the year, up from 266 in the same period in 2020. Last month, D.C. reached the unfortunate milestone of more than 900 reports of carjacking year-to-date, despite overall drops in commuter patterns post-pandemic. It's important to be aware and prepared for any situation, so we've gathered some tips from local police to help you survive and deal with a carjacking.

Tips for Surviving an Attempted Carjacking

  • Stay Alert and Vigilant

One of the best ways of avoiding a carjacking is to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. That means: don’t stay immersed in your phone or entertainment console. While driving, keep your phone down, avoid distractions, and pay attention to what's happening on the road. Be watchful when sitting in your car, waiting at traffic lights, or queuing up at stop signs.

  • Don't Resist or Fight Back

The first rule of carjacking is to comply and not resist. It’s frustrating, and the temptation to escalate the conflict verbally or with force is understandable. However, it's not worth risking your life or increasing your chances of physical harm to resist a carjacking. Remain calm, keep your hands visible, and do not make any sudden movements. 

  • Be Observant and Memorize Details

While adding an airtag to your car can aid police in later recovering the vehicle, try to remember details if you can for filing a later report. If a carjacking does take place, try to memorize as many details about the carjacker and their car as you can. Take mental notes of their appearance, clothing, and other distinguishing features. Look for tattoos, facial hair, or scars on their face or body, or the make and model of the car or vehicle they may have gotten out of. 

  • Don't Wait to Notify Police

If you are able to break away from a carjacker and/or if they flee with your car, alert bystanders and call the police immediately. The sooner the police are notified, the better your chances of recovery. Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t delay. This not only helps the police track down the carjacker, but also helps them gather data that they can use to develop strategies to combat carjacking in your area. Filing a report also helps you to document the incident to submit to your insurance company.

Carjacking is a serious issue that affects many drivers in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. Being alert, vigilant, and aware of your surroundings can go a long way in preventing you from falling victim. Remember to comply with the carjacker's demands, avoid physical confrontation, and notify the police immediately.