MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What to do if you are the target of a carjacker?
We showed you startling video Monday of a carjacking in progress at a Southeast Memphis gas station. Memphis Police say now, more than ever, you need to be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Fortunately the victim, who appeared to fight with the suspect. was not hurt. But police caution not to resist in this type of situation.
“The carjackers, yes, if they are armed, and they demand your car, you give them the car,” Col. Darrell Sheffield, of the MPD Appling Farms Station, said. “You give them your property. Don’t resist them and the likelihood is they will take your property and leave you alone. You can replace property. You cannot replace a life.”
Rachel Williams was viciously slashed during a carjacking three days before Christmas.
“I got 14 stitches in the top cut and 17 stitches in the bottom one under my neck,” Williams said.
Williams says looking back, she wishes she hadn’t initially refused her carjacker’s demands.
“So I said, ‘this guy’s just not going to give up. He gonna keep on cutting me till I give him these keys.’So I just went ahead and gave it to him ’cause I feared for my life,” Williams said.
Williams says she was caught off guard. And that’s why police say it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.
“People that are around you, people that are driving by, people that are walking by and that would help in many different crimes, as in the robberies and carjackings,” Sheffield said.
With dozens of vehicle break-ins and thefts already reported in 2021, police are concerned about the high number of guns and other valuables stolen and continue to stress their “Stow it… Don’t show it” campaign.
MPD said a relatively inexpensive lock box or trigger guard cable lock can prevent your gun from falling into the wrong hands.
Here are a list of tips provided by the Memphis Police Department:
- Here are a few tips to keep in mind when going about your day-to-day activities.
- ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS!
- 1. When leaving your home, a restaurant, gas station, work, etc. look around to make sure that no suspicious activities are occurring.
- Ask yourself: Is there an unknown person wandering around close by who seems to be behaving unusually. Are they looking into car windows, watching your actions, circling the parking lot?
- Also, ask yourself: Once leaving a location, is anyone following you?
- If you feel as if you are being followed, call the police and give your location and description along with the suspicious person’s description. Do not stop and attempt to get out of your car or approach the unknown person. Police will respond and assess the situation. Trust your instincts! As a police officer, I often pay attention to who is following me before I get to my destination. If something seems odd and the same car has been following me for a long time, I will keep driving to see if the person behind me stays the same path.
- 2. When using an ATM or when you are entering or leaving a bank, check the parking lot.
- Ask yourself: Has the same car circled the parking lot several times without parking? Is someone walking in the parking lot near your vehicle as if they are waiting for you? Is there someone parked next to you who has been sitting in a parked car for a long time? I always glance at who is parked next to me and pay attention to see if that same person is still sitting there when I return. Often, I will not park next to a car that is occupied. To play it safe, I simply pick another location to park.
- Also ask yourself if you see people who are wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather (e.g., a long or heavy coat in warm weather)? Be observant!
- If you see something suspicious, say something. Speak to available security personnel or call the police.
- Trust your instincts. If you sense trouble, get away as soon as possible.
- Show confidence. Walk at a steady pace, keep your head up and avoid carrying lots of packages…it can make you look defenseless. Do not be on your phone. Pay attention.
- Don’t look like an easy target. Robbers want someone who will provide the least resistance. If you look like you know where you are going, walk with your head up and eyes alert, you will most likely be left alone.
- Be observant. I cannot stress this enough.
- Remain alert and observe the people around you.
- Walk in well-lit areas. If possible, do not walk alone.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed, go to a crowded area-ALERT SOMEONE.
- Do not carry large amounts of money.
- Carry keys in your hand; be ready to get into your car.
- ALWAYS: If you observe suspicious persons or activities, call the police!
- AND NEVER FIGHT OVER PROPERTY. If a bad guy/gal wants your property, give it to them. Your life is not worth losing; items can be replaced.