Carjackings have soared, but here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim

Until Chicago finds a solution, stay aware, don’t leave a car running, and take other precautions.

SHARE Carjackings have soared, but here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown speaks to reporters during a press conference addressing the rise in carjackings in Chicago and surrounding communities

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown speaks to reporters during a press conference addressing the rise in carjackings in Chicago and surrounding communities.

Tyler LaRiviere | Chicago Sun-Times

Mary Mitchell is right in her recent column: It’s time to find a solution for the soaring number of carjackings plaguing Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

A police spokesman described it as teens mostly “joy riding.” However, it’s anything but a joy for victims who experience trauma. Until the city and local authorities find a solution, I am passing along some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of this persistent crime.

  • When at a stoplight, do not pull too close to the car in front of you. Leave at least a car length between you and the vehicle ahead so you will not be boxed in if you have to make a quick getaway.
  • If you are involved in a minor fender bender and more than one person gets out to check the damages, do not get out of your vehicle. Drive to the nearest police station and explain what happened. If it’s a legitimate incident, the police and the other party will understand what you did.
  • When at a stop sign, red light, train crossing, etc., do not pick up your phone to talk, text, access social media and so on. Criminals prey on those who are distracted.
  • Minimize your time sitting inside a parked vehicle.
  • Some people like to check the internet, social media, etc. before entering a home or other destination. This is definitely a no-no. People are watching, especially in store parking lots.
  • Be especially aware when getting gas for your car.

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  • Do not, under any circumstances, leave your vehicle while it is running, even if you are in possession of the fob or keys, not even for a second.
  • If you feel you are being followed, call 911 and drive to the nearest police station or flag down a police car.
  • When shopping at a mall or for groceries, never return to your vehicle and place purchases inside and continue shopping. If you feel you are being followed or watched, most stores will provide a safe escort to your vehicle.
  • When you park to shop or in a parking area, watch for bushes or other obstacles that will give criminals a place for hiding, especially if you will remain parked until after dark.
  • Most of all, if ever confronted by an individual who demands your vehicle and valuables, whether they are armed or not, do not resist. Your life is not worth the risk.

Bob Angone, retired Chicago police lieutenant, Austin, Texas

Keep Mercy Hospital open

For many years Mercy Hospital has served thousands of patients of color from the West and South sides. Mercy is like a home for many patients of color, where they have gotten care like cancer screenings, mammograms, diabetes treatment or prevention, and many other services. Closing Mercy would be a disaster in the midst of a global pandemic, leaving thousands having to travel for care.

That would be very inconvenient and further expose racial health disparities.

Hospitals in underserved communities are closing, putting people with less money or on Medicaid at a disadvantage for receiving quality health care. Medicare for All would address these inequalities, and hospitals would be built where they are needed to meet everyone’s health care needs.

Curtis Harris, Old Town

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