Episode 163 – Dramatic Increase in Carjackings

The topic for this week’s episode is the huge increase in carjackings.

Statistically, driving the principal from point A to point B has been the highest risk the principal faces during their daily routine. A not so new risk needs to be added to that trip, and that is the dramatic increase, in fact, a staggering increase in carjackings in parts of the United States during the pandemic.

If you are not familiar with the term, a carjacking is a violent, potentially fatal version of auto theft.

By The Numbers

Do a Google search for carjackings under the News tab you’ll see 3 New Year’s Day carjackings in St. Louis, another in Chicago, more in Oakland, and Washington D.C.

According to ABC News, Minneapolis police report that carjackings there have shot up 537% this year. Carjacking calls to 911 in New Orleans are up 126%. Oakland police cite an increase of 38%. In Chicago, in all of 2019, there were 501 incidents of carjackings. So far that number has more than doubled to 1,125 this year, according to the latest Chicago police statistics.

One of the reasons given for the increase – came from a criminal justice professor – “If we weren’t in a pandemic and you saw a guy coming up to your car with a mask on, you probably would freak out and hit the gas pedal,” he explained. “But nowadays, everyone’s wearing masks. So, there’s this anonymity part of the pandemic that I think many criminals are taking advantage of.”

Another reason there for the increase in carjackings is the impact of COVID on police departments across the country. Law enforcement has been hampered by the need to minimize officer’s exposure to COVID.  In a recent report from the Police Executive Research Forum, 1100 of NYC Police Dept had positive COVID tests in December alone. Similarly, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross stated that “right now, the Police Department has an uptick in COVID-19.  229 of my 2,100 sworn officers are out. That’s going to greatly impact how we do business.”

With all this in mind, we thought we’d dip into the podcast archives and replay for you an episode I did from August 16th, 2018.

Some closing thoughts

As a solo practitioner or security driver continue your vigilance and be aware of your surroundings, leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you while in traffic so that you can more easily make an escape, discuss a plan with your principal in the event you are carjacked.

Three Seconds to Safety – Surge of Carjacking


Additional material

Carjacking prevention information from LAPD


An article from member Mark James

 Avoiding a Carjacking PDF

Recent ABC News Story


Police Executive Research Forum on Covid-19 Response


If you’ve enjoyed this week’s podcast episode, we invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association.  Get access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA knowledge center. The knowledge shared encompasses a wide range of EP and ST focused topics with resources, information, and metrics.

  For more information on all of the member benefits head over to https://isdacenter.org.

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