Dear Reader,

Imagine you’ve just left a restaurant after a pleasant night out with your spouse.  You’re safe in your car and headed home, enjoying a pleasant conversation about the play you watched earlier that evening. You pull up to a red light, come to a stop, and then WHAM! You’re struck from behind.  You realize quickly the hit wasn’t bad, a little jolting but nothing more than a hard bump really.  You get out to inspect the damage and see that there is none, a minor scrape at best. You look up to wave the driver off, “There’s no damaged guys!” You mean to say.  But there’s a gun pointed in your face. Your eyes go wide and you raise your hands. You look back to your car to see another man pointing a gun at your spouse in the passenger seat.

They force your spouse from the vehicle, and in what seems like seconds, the two of you are in the street alone–no purse, no wallet, no phone. You’ve just been carjacked.

This terrifying scenario recently played out for a couple in D.C. when two masked gunmen staged a fender bender in order to steal their BMW.  It happened near Foxhall Road near Whitehaven Parkway. The couple was left stranded on the side of the road after having their vehicle and belongings stolen in what felt like the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, this type of crime is becoming more and more common in our area.  According to authorities, there have been hundreds of carjackings in the District this year alone.  Recently, there was a news report documenting three separate carjackings over a five-hour period on a Saturday night near the former Fairmont Heights High School. These carjackers are targeting individuals, delivery drivers, and rideshare drivers as well. (See the links to both full articles below.)

I’m spreading the word about this to keep you aware of the risk and to offer some advice.

When traveling at night, don’t take shortcuts or back alleys. Stay on well-lit, highly trafficked roads. If you’re involved in a minor fender bender, especially if it’s late at night or on a quiet road, don’t get out of your car. Put your hazard lights on to indicate you’re acknowledging what just happened, and slowly drive to a well-lit area.  Call the police as you drive to report the incident and tell them where you intend to stop. Do NOT get out of your car if you feel even the slightest bit uneasy in the situation.

The couple mentioned above were lucky. Sure, they were left on the side of the road with their vehicle and valuables stolen out from under them, but they did walk away alive and uninjured. The situation could have come to a much more tragic end.

With a bit of planning and contingency plans for when plans go askew, you can protect yourself and your loved ones and avoid potential disaster.   Always keep your safety and the safety of the ones around you in mind above all else. Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings, and trust your instincts.  It’s better to be cautious a hundred times to be dead once.

Until next time, stay aware, be safe, and never text while driving,

Sincerely,

Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515

4 Washington Rear-end collision turned car jacking

NBC 3 Carjackings in 5 hours in Fairmount Heights

 

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