With the recent increase of carjackings in the area, the Golden Valley Police Department (GVPD) offers safety tips for protecting yourself and your vehicle.
"Carjackings are crimes of opportunity where a criminal is searching for the most vulnerable potential victim, and they've been occurring more often in many suburban cities like Golden Valley over the past month," said Golden Valley Police Director Virgil Green.
Green added that statistically speaking, chances of being a victim of carjacking are slim. "We do know carjackings are not that prevalent considering overall crime rates, but taking preventive measures can reduce the risk even more," he said.
Carjacking Safety Tips
- Always drive with the doors locked. If a thief can’t get into your vehicle, you stand a better chance of leaving with it.
- When coming to a stop, leave room to maneuver around other cars in case you need to leave the area quickly.
- Park in well-lit, visible areas.
- Even if you’re rushed, look around before you get out of your vehicle and stay alert to your surroundings.
- If possible, when leaving shopping or activity centers, walk with groups of people.
- Whether you are coming or going, don't linger in your car, even if the doors are locked. Either get out and leave or get in and drive.
- Keep your cell phone in your pocket, rather than in the car.
- Keep your car keys and your house keys on separate key rings to prevent giving a thief automatic access to your home.
- If possible, avoid stopping for gas at night.
- Equip your vehicle with an anti-theft or GPS tracking system.
- If a carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car immediately. Do not argue.
- Try to take note of the carjacker's physical description, clothing, and any other vehicles involved.
- Call 911 immediately.
"The most important thing to remember is that your car is replaceable but you’re not," says Green. "A carjacking is a crime of violence that can be particularly scary for anyone. Knowing how to respond in these situations may mean the difference between serious injury or death and walking away unharmed."
The City Council also encourages residents to be attentive to their surroundings and follow the advice offered by the GVPD. "We are taking this very seriously, and we appreciate the great work the GVPD is doing," says Mayor Shep Harris.
For more safety information, contact the GVPD at 763-593-8079.