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Hit the Gas or Hand Over the Keys; Police offer Carjacking Advice

Someone approaches your car at a red light, and tries to take your car. Do you hit the gas? Or give them your keys?

That was the situation a 69-year-old Brown Deer woman found herself in Tuesday morning, according to police.

According to the department, the woman was in her vehicle stopped at a red traffic signal, when two teenagers attempted to enter her vehicle. 

The subjects allegedly demanded the victim to exit her vehicle. She was able to escape by driving away without injury or damage to her vehicle.

     "In this situation, it worked for her," says Sgt. Joseph Hahn. "But your vehicle is not worth more than your life, and your safety is the higher priority." 

Hahn says the woman made the right decision by having her doors locked, potentially stopping the suspects from gaining access. Most vehicles will allow you to set your doors to automatically lock when you reach a certain speed limit, but Hahn recommends locking them right away. 

     "If something looks suspicious, it probably is suspicious. Don't just take it for granted that someone's walking up to help you," says Hahn.

According to the U.S. State Department, handing over your keys is usually the safest option in a carjacking situation. The department says there are 6 places you should watch out for.

  • High crime areas 
  • Lesser traveled roads (rural areas) 
  • Intersections where you must stop 
  • Isolated areas in parking lots 
  • Residential driveways and gates
  • Traffic jams or congested areas

Officials recommend monitoring the following six things before deciding if you should hit the gas, fight back, or hand over the keys. 

  • Type of attack

  • Environment (isolated or public)

  • Mental state of attacker (reasonable or nervous)

  • Number of attackers

  • Weapons

  • Whether children are present

For more information on how to keep yourself from becoming a victim, click here. 

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