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Old July 3, 2019, 06:20 AM   #1
OhioGuy
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Carjacking scenario -- tactics?

I just returned from a vacation to the Caribbean. Knowing I'd be in unfamiliar territory (not to mention driving on the "wrong" side of the road!), and reading ahead about some of the crime stats on the island, I elected to stick close to the resort and hire reputable tour agencies to venture out. And I was fine.

I met young honeymooning couple who'd had a terrifying experience. They rented their own car, and ventured out to some remote spot trying to find a hiking trail. Down some windy, isolated side street, a man ran out in front of their slowly driving car and stopped them. He asked where they were going (and they told him), so he ran to the side, opened the back door and climbed in the car with them! Saying he had directions. So, terrified, they followed his directions. Thankfully for them, he actually did bring them to where they wanted to go -- but then demanded money for his service. They just gave him what was in their wallet and he went on his way.

He never threatened them overtly, never showed or suggested a weapon, they didn't argue or resist with their money, so I don't know if it even counts as robbery. But I've been wondering ever since, what I could have/should have done in such a scenario (beyond what I already did, which was not to venture out into unknown territory with bad directions, looking like a lost tourist!)

It's of course a "gun free" island...

Anyways, Scenario 1: I'm in the exact scenario as above, I have no weapon other than my hands or the vehicle. Stranger suddenly runs in front of my moving car and I can't swerve around him on this narrow street. The only thing I can think of is to hit the gas and escape forward when he moves to the side, but I'm already lost and don't know what lies ahead -- could end up stuck, and he's now pissed and knows where I am. But I figure by the time he's in my back seat, I'm now captive and out of options other than to follow direction and pray really hard? He could have a knife, gun, cord around my neck, etc. Trying to attack someone behind me from the front seat sounds futile. Getting out of the car, I could run away -- where? He could have buddies just outside of my vision. He could run off with my car -- an acceptable loss -- but now I'm stranded in a strange place, lost and without any communication. And there were two of them -- if I'm the driver, I also have to consider that my wife is in the car -- if I get out and run, will she? Or have I just left him with a hostage?

What would YOU do?

Scenario 2: this happens in 'Murica, and I have my CCW on me. How might that change the calculus? Still screwed if he makes it into the back seat?

They may have narrowly escaped murder last week -- or he may have just been a real pushy guy who knows how to wring money out of tourists, but the point is, YOU CAN'T KNOW.
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Old July 3, 2019, 06:26 AM   #2
TunnelRat
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Could try locking your car doors, preferably before someone walks up and opens your door.

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Old July 3, 2019, 07:40 AM   #3
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MOST people are not cold blooded killers. There are many people in popular tourist destinations that are really good at wrangling money from tourists. Carry a $20 bill in a pocket separate from your wallet, use a cash belt to prevent carrying a wallet, and be prepared to tip the locals. Part of the game. That being said there is a reason car doors have locks and a reason that those locks are engaged at low speeds.

I'm treating my car like the rolling "fortress" it is. If you get inside its either because you are invited or you have made hostile intentions clearly known. Don't allow a hostile actor to move you because doing so is virtually always a death sentence.
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:01 AM   #4
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I cut out the middle man and only vacation in castles.

1. Lock doors.
2. Don't stop.
3. Don't go to bad areas (like...Mexico right now).
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:08 AM   #5
OhioGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lohman446 View Post
I'm treating my car like the rolling "fortress" it is. If you get inside its either because you are invited or you have made hostile intentions clearly known. Don't allow a hostile actor to move you because doing so is virtually always a death sentence.
Let's say the guy has made it to your back seat, and you realized too late that your rental car doesn't have automatically locking doors and you screwed up.

Is there any option at that point besides allowing this new actor to move you? How do you fight back against someone who is in the back seat? Get out and run?
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:09 AM   #6
dontcatchmany
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I was involved in an attempted car jacking in 1999.

I was coming home from a wee hours of the night job of upgrading a computer system at work. It was something like 3am.

Stopped at a red light in a shady part of town which I had to pass through every day to and from work and two thugs came at each door and tried to open them. I gunned the vehicle and ran the light. No harm done. Thank God for auto locking doors!

Called the police when I got home but they could not do anything.

The next day I went to the Sheriff's office and got a pistol permit. Three days later I got my first firearm. A Ruger sp101 357 magnum. Still have it today along with 20 other handguns....lol... and several long guns.

I am a Vietnam Veteran and after using guns in that war I came home and was sick at the sight of a gun.....until this incident. Made me realize that I could shoot another human again and probably enjoy it against a low life thug.

I hope an incident like that never happens again. Now I have weapons in both vehicles I own and always at least one on me.

Anything can happen at any time.

Oh, I did change my daily route to and from home and took the longer route.

Last edited by dontcatchmany; July 3, 2019 at 08:16 AM.
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:41 AM   #7
Lohman446
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Is there any option at that point besides allowing this new actor to move you? How do you fight back against someone who is in the back seat? Get out and run?
Seat belt off, car in park, pull keys, drop on floor. Hand the attacker the $20 I have in my shirt pocket and say "thank you no" This makes it abundantly clear in any language you do not intend to follow instructions. If I have mistaken the intent it should lay aside any hard feelings. Getting out and running is an option if I am alone but if I am going to make a stand (even if it is going to be hampered by sitting in the front seat) its better to do it when my attacker has less control over the setting. The more time and movement I allow my attacker the more control I cede and the more likely said attacker is going to create a numbers advantage.

Last edited by Lohman446; July 3, 2019 at 11:53 AM.
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Old July 3, 2019, 08:59 AM   #8
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My wife and I have been in the Islands many times; have rented cars or hired a one-man tour guide to see the "REAL" side of things. The folks are genuinely friendly, poor, and looking to make a buck, not commit a crime and then deal with their police. Didn't matter whether it was The Bahamas, BVI, USVI, Jamaica, St. Martin, Dominica, etc.

Those places aren't like east St. Louis or Camden, etc. The cultural differences are very stark compared to what you experience here.
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Old July 3, 2019, 09:12 AM   #9
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My wife and I have been in the Islands many times; have rented cars or hired a one-man tour guide to see the "REAL" side of things. The folks are genuinely friendly, poor, and looking to make a buck, not commit a crime and then deal with their police. Didn't matter whether it was The Bahamas, BVI, USVI, Jamaica, St. Martin, Dominica, etc.
When I used to vacation with my father in my young teens he would generally take me and do something very similar to see what the locations were like. Either a taxi driver or a public transit bus. Tip the driver in the beginning and you will never get a more "real" tour. The only time we even had any hint there may be issues was we asked the bus driver if we should run in to a particular store and grab a drink. He told us "not here" and then bought us drinks a couple stops up. The closest we ever came to not making it back was when my father (an auto-tech by trade) had to repair some wiring on the Suburban that was used as a taxi so we could get back.
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Old July 3, 2019, 09:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunnelRat
Could try locking your car doors, preferably before someone walks up and opens your door.
My immediate reaction, too.

Had much the same thing happen to me a number of years ago. Late at night, driving through the nearby city on my way home after a date. Stopped for a traffic light and a woman who was either very drunk or VERY crazy stepped off the sidewalk and tried to open the passenger door of my car. My doors were all locked, thank goodness. She couldn't get in so she started banging on the windows and screaming at me to let her in.

This was long before cell phones. I drove off, stopped a couple of blocks up the street at a 24-hour gas station, and used their phone to call the cops. Never heard anything more.

Keep doors locked and windows up at least high enough to dissuade reacing in to unlock the doors.
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Old July 3, 2019, 10:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
1. Lock doors.
2. Don't stop.
3. Don't go to bad areas (like...Mexico right now).
Good advice. I'd add places like the DR and any country ending with "stan". Basically, countries that the media went nuts over because someone call them "hell-holes".
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Old July 3, 2019, 10:59 AM   #12
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I completely agree with Lohman. Being moved to a secondary location is not an option. Give up the cash designated for the purpose if necessary and make clear you're not going anywhere. Hopefully that ends it. If it doesn't and running isn't an option I would aggressively make my stand outside the car. If a fight is going to happen I want to be the aggressor. Most thugs aren't too interested in an actual fight. Even if he is, compliance in this situation cannot happen.

"Don't go to bad places" is a good soundbite. It is impossible to know where trouble can find you though. Many folks live in fear. My advice is know the risks, be prepared, smart, situationally aware, and do what you love. If that is traveling the world, go for it!
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Old July 3, 2019, 11:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dontcatchmany
Oh, I did change my daily route to and from home and took the longer route.
That's another personal choice we can make, but everyone is different. My brother, for example, is virtually obsessed with saving gas, so he takes the shortest possible route (in miles, not time) to go anywhere. As I've gotten older, I find that I'm more concerned about safety and security than I am about making a trip 0.000037 miles shorter to "save on gas."

I live to the west of the small-ish city that serves as our "major metropolitan area." I often have to go to places on the east side and beyond. The shortest route is to go directly through the city and get on the Interstate downtown. And that's what I used to do.

In recent years, I've stopped doing that. The route to the Interstate in the city goes through a ghetto area. I haven't had any incidents but ... why tempt fate? I decided that it's much easier to head south from my house, get on the highway west of the city, and drive through the city on the Interstate. Same thing when returning to home from points east ... especially at night.

And the reality is, it doesn't add more than maybe five minutes to the time, and because I don't encounter all the traffic lights it probably doesn't cost any more in gasoline.
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Old July 3, 2019, 11:29 AM   #14
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I want this as a car-jacking preventative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDrzMGdYWZc
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Old July 3, 2019, 12:22 PM   #15
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It sounds like this could have been prevented by locking their doors. Always lock the door, whether it's your car or your house. Secondly, if it's late at night in a sketchy area I try not to stop at stop lights. I slow down or speed up as necessary to time the light so it's green when I reach the intersection.
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Old July 3, 2019, 12:32 PM   #16
T. O'Heir
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Tourists are easy marks just about everywhere, but particularly in the Caribbean. Especially young honeymooning couples.
"...Keep doors locked and windows up..." Yep. Just like you would in certain parts of the U.S. of A. Locking the friggin' doors should be normal.
"...someone who is in the back seat?..." See that peddle on the right near your foot? Push it to the floor for 10 to 20 seconds. Then stomp on the peddle to its immediate left really hard. The GIB will very likely be joining you in front, but chances are good he'll be stuck, unconscious, in the windshield or upside down at the very least.
"...a "gun free" island..." Quite literally only the U.S. allows private ownership and carrying of firearms.
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Old July 3, 2019, 02:56 PM   #17
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I took a course related to this at the US Embassy when we lived overseas. (It made me wonder what the * we were doing over there if these were legit threats, they were)

The relevant summary was:

Situational awareness, always. If there's a private checkpoint ahead, avoid it at most any cost.

Doors locked except when you're getting in and out.

Windows never rolled down more than an inch (zero is best).

Don't stop if at all possible. Even at stop lights, keep your distance and be ready to move into your escape route.

If someone is insistent on getting a ride (assuming you don't know them), tell them the driver's side rear door doesn't work, and they have to walk around to the others side.....Once they get to the back of the car (or are just clear of the front of the car on the passenger's side, ***haul a**, with a slight left / right motion as you move forward.

If you do get stopped, you can feign not knowing the local language, best if you know a phrase in a language that is not locally spoken, like "Knee mama chew you" (Chinese for 'your mama eats fish') and just keep repeating it until they leave or you have a chance to haul.

There is also a technique, it might be on youtube, to 'swat' someone with the rear quarter panel of your car by using light pressure on the brakes, turning the wheels away from them then flooring it. Congratulations, that's vehicle assault, but might save your life. You decide.

You have to understand up front what you're willing to do / not do.

P.S. If someone needs to also know how to survive a grenade attack, Molotov cocktail attacks or machine gun attack, let me know.
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Old July 3, 2019, 04:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TXAZ
There is also a technique, it might be on youtube, to 'swat' someone with the rear quarter panel of your car by using light pressure on the brakes, turning the wheels away from them then flooring it. Congratulations, that's vehicle assault, but might save your life. You decide.
You must be nearly as old as I am.

That technique used to work with rear-wheel drive cars (if the engine was powerful enough to break the traction of the rear tires). It won't work if the car/vehicle is front wheel drive -- which a great many cars and even SUVs are these days.
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Old July 3, 2019, 05:51 PM   #19
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Not to mention

Even if it is possible front wheel drive understeers like crazy anyhow, not gonna break the backend loose, even if you try. Front wheel drive is nice for traction, and that's about it.
This does bring up the possibility of taking a course on vehicle dynamics and emergency or extreme handling if you spend much time behind the wheel.

We have a bunch of police here, active and retired, what say you?
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Old July 3, 2019, 06:39 PM   #20
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A commonplace racket is to wash windows at an intersection and ask, expect, or demand money for the service. You're stopped in traffic, a guy starts washing your windshield, what are you going to do? He starts banging on the window for money. What do you do? I have to admit though, jumping in the car is even bolder. But yeah, keep the doors locked and windows up. If you're in a Jeep with no top, tough luck.

So you have to be able to discern when a situation calls for the use of force. If it doesn't, it's probably going to get you in big trouble. If it does and you fail to use it, you could be dead. But far more often than not, force isn't called for, but assertiveness and fearlessness are. The aggressive or predatory panhandler has learned that the timid, scared tourist is an easy mark. If you haven't spotted him a mile away and know exactly what he's up to, you're going to look like a mark.

"Where are you going?"

"Lárgate! Beat it!" "¡Esfúmate! ¡Ya!"

If they climb on your jeep, you look them in the eyes and tell them calmly, "Mejor desapareces." If they persist, call the Policia. They're trespassing. Under the laws of most countries it is not likely to be lawful for you to commit assault/battery on their person if they are just hanging on your vehicle. If a police response is not something you can expect, you better be prepared to kick their ass and the ass of everyone else who comes because you are quite literally on your own. But try diplomacy first. Offer them 5 XCD or pesos or whatever to find you a parking spot and watch it until you get back. Give them the 5 and go your way.

The tourist that submits and complies with them at the first question is going to go the whole distance.

Last edited by labnoti; July 3, 2019 at 06:44 PM.
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Old July 3, 2019, 06:45 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
You must be nearly as old as I am.

That technique used to work with rear-wheel drive cars (if the engine was powerful enough to break the traction of the rear tires). It won't work if the car/vehicle is front wheel drive -- which a great many cars and even SUVs are these days.
I’m turning 40 (hexadecimal ) soon.
Most embassy vehicles were Suburbans as were the vehicles of anyone that could spell “Security “.

Yea, you could clear out a street pretty quickly with a swinging Sub. (Not that I would have any first hand experience with that)
Not to mention that most drivers in Asian countries get the heck out of the way when a Sub is swinging.
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Last edited by TXAZ; July 3, 2019 at 06:51 PM.
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Old July 3, 2019, 07:58 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by labnoti
A commonplace racket is to wash windows at an intersection and ask, expect, or demand money for the service. You're stopped in traffic, a guy starts washing your windshield, what are you going to do? He starts banging on the window for money. What do you do? I have to admit though, jumping in the car is even bolder. But yeah, keep the doors locked and windows up. If you're in a Jeep with no top, tough luck.
My late wife was from a South American country that still has a large gap between the middle class and the really poor. It is a normal experience when driving in the capitol city to be approached by the freelance windscreen washer guys. However, it is universally understood that if the driver raises his/her index finger (NOT the third finger, a.k.a. the "rigid digit") and wags it back and forth, that means "No thanks." Down there, "No" still means "no" and is readily accepted by the wandering washers.
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Old July 4, 2019, 07:00 AM   #23
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Good thoughts, thanks all.

I haven't traveled much internationally. But enough to realize that one major risk factor is simply not knowing what counts as "normal" for another location or culture. Avoiding the situations is far better than having to fight, beg or pay your way out of them. I just turned 40 also (still just decimal!). At 30 I could take on someone and at least have a good chance of getting out. At 40 my lower back and both knees have decided they don't like me and I'm less confident. Add another (or two) guys to the equation and I'm fairly well screwed, and ain't running too well either. I think sometimes there's a certain arrogance/stupidity that can come when people start carrying, as though having a few rounds under their belt line suddenly makes them impervious to injury. Avoidance is always the best plan.

Thankfully our local tour guides (a) knew where they were driving and (b) explained to us how the local hustles worked, and how forcefully you have to say NO before someone guilts you into spending $50 on a bead bracelet. I did give some guy $25 for a bottle of local BBQ sauce, but that was because he was part vendor, part comedian who also took a bunch of pictures for us and I figured he'd earned it
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Old July 4, 2019, 09:05 AM   #24
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Street Hustles

Sadly if one would like to practice their responses to street hustles, just head down to one of my very favorite cities.
San Francisco is the capital for panhandling, I've experienced more hustles there than anywhere else. A select few missed their calling, their acting chops should get them roles on TV.
Whether in your car, or out and about on foot count on a hustle or two.
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Old July 4, 2019, 03:11 PM   #25
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I wouldn't get too caught up in the analyticals of this venue or that. The same principals of self protection generally apply.

door and locks are intended to be used
distance is your friend ( drive away)
pay attention and be prepared to defend
maintain a healthy suspicion of unknown people and unknown circumstances.
don't get boxed in and always allow for a much space to maneuver as possible.
not every adverse situation is a GUN situation ( don't always rely on the gun)




Just speaking for myself, I am not likely to allow someone to stop me in the road. If I do have to stop, I will immediately put the car in reverse and move. If they try to get into my car when I am stopped, I will drive away. Certainly common sense must be applied but I am speaking broadly regarding an obvious criminal attack.
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