What would you do if an armed man approached your car and tried to steal it?
Kristina Carr said to herself, “No. Not today. Enough is enough,” quickly jumped in her car, found the ignition switch, gunned the accelerator and took off “exceedingly fast,” according to a report of an attempted carjacking aired on WDIV, Channel 4
Carr had just finished fueling her car at a Mobil station on McNichols Road near the Southfield Freeway in Detroit when the would-be carjacker “bum-rushed” her and put held her at gunpoint about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her daughter was in the passenger set.
"I can't even explain how I put my foot on the pedal and my hand on the ignition,” Carr told the television station. I would have done anything to protect her and myself …”
Punctuating the experience was her inability to file a police report. She said she called Detroit police and several times and waited on the phone before giving up.
The television station said police reports needn’t be by phone. Regardless of where a crime happens, a report can be filed at any precinct station in the city.
After Carr left, a gas station employee and suspect had a brief shoot-out. No one was injured.
Carr’s experience isn’t uncommon in a city that has gained the unfavorable moniker of “Carjack City,” The Associated Press reports.
Through May 19, Detroit had 191 carjackings in 2014. Two of them resulted in death. On Feb. 24, a CVS security guard who rushed toward a car stolen by three suspects was shot and killed. On Feb. 4, a 68-year-old man was beaten to death with a tire iron after his car was stolen at an intersection.
In all of 2013, Detroit had 780 carjackings, an average of 65 a month. Five years earlier, in 2008, the city reported 1,231.
The Associated Press report said the decrease in Detroit’s population, which the plunged 25 percent in a decade, may account for some of the decline in carjackings.
Craig said the problem in Detroit is greater than in Los Angeles, where he previously worked, or in Cincinnati, where he rarely encountered the problem.
“In LA ... it was almost an anomaly to hear about carjackings,” he said.
Craig was speaking at a news conference where U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, the FBI and other law enforcement officials announced a billboard campaign reminding would-be carjackers that stealing a car could land them in prison – or even get them the death penalty.
Gas stations are fertile hunting grounds for carjackers because anti-theft mechanisms mean cars can’t be driven without an ignition key, preventing hot-wiring and some of the car theft techniques at the past. Motorists get out of their cars, making them vulnerable.
To help combat the problem, the Detroit Police Department is partnering with businesses in an anti-carjacking effort, the AP said.
To be part of it, they must have security cameras, good lighting, be open around the clock and have clerks who are willing to help motorists. Pale green lighthouse decals tell customers the stations are part of the effort.
Another partnership between police and General Motors’ OnStar roadside assistance service helps track down stolen vehicles, with rewards offered through an anonymous tip line.
Offering residents and visitors to Detroit a sense of security is an important piece of the city’s economic recovery, officials told the AP.