Montgomery County police are cautioning drivers in the wake of a recent increase in carjackings in the region.
So far in January, according to a department release, there have been eight carjackings and one attempt.
Locally, a 19-year-old male of Washington, D.C. and a 21-year-old male of an unconfirmed address, were arrested for an armed carjacking they committed in Silver Spring on January 11.
Other incidents have occurred in Chevy Chase and Germantown; so far, police have made arrests in six of these cases.
Most of these vehicle thefts occurred as drivers left their vehicles running and attended, frequently as drivers picked up food orders at local restaurants.
“Investigators have recently noted new and different commonalities among these carjackings in the county: the suspects are often young, some not even of a legal driving age, and the suspects often use violence—they present handguns or assault the victims,” according to the release.
Drivers can minimize the risk of becoming a victim by:
- Not leaving the vehicle running and unattended
- Locking the vehicle and keeping the keys at all times
- Never leaving a spare key or valet key (which can be sued to start the car) in the vehicle
- Making sure a car with “push-button” ignition system is turned off and locked before leaving it unattended, and
- Using a vehicle locator device.
Finally, police advise, “If someone demands your vehicle keys, let them take your vehicle! Do not risk serious injury.”