There has been a sharp rise in carjacking crimes across the region. Carjacking crimes are robberies with the loss of a vehicle using a threat of violence, use of force, or use of a weapon as the victim is entering or leaving the vehicle. As of Dec. 17, there have been 614 attempted and completed carjackings this year across the city, up from 104 in 2019.
The Minneapolis Police Department is apprehending suspects, investigating cases, and collaborating with the Hennepin County Attorney’s office and the courts to hold offenders accountable. The County has dedicated two prosecutors to specialize in the prosecution of these cases: one for juvenile cases and one for adult cases. The County has also designated an advocate to assist victims of carjackings.
Safety steps from the MPD to help prevent a carjacking
- Stay aware of your surroundings. Avoid focusing on your phone or being distracted when approaching or leaving your vehicle and when sitting in a parked vehicle.
- When sitting in your vehicle, keep your doors locked and your windows up.
- If you feel unsafe, move.
- Understand and use any alert system installed on your vehicle. Activate the distress alert or panic button for your vehicle if you feel unsafe or threatened. This is typically a red button on your key fob.
- Always have your mobile phone handy and charged.
- Practice safe parking. Stick to well-lit areas. If you have any safety concerns where you parked after the fact, find a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
- If you are involved in a minor crash without other vehicles or pedestrians around and you do not feel safe enough to stop, immediately call 911, report the crash incident, and drive to a nearby, public area to exchange information or wait for police.
- To minimize your losses if you encounter a carjacker, protect your other valuables. Avoid carrying a lot of cash, ensure that all apps with personal information or access to finances are secured by more than your phone’s lock screen, and immediately report any lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
If you become the victim of a carjacking crime
- If you are confronted by an assailant and are not able to drive away, remain calm, do not argue.
- Try to remember how the assailant looks and acts, including any of their unique characteristics (such as scars, limps, acne, teeth, manner of speech).
- Never chase them.
- If video is available, please save a copy of the incident for investigating detectives.
- If a witness approaches you, ask for their contact information.
- Contact 911 immediately and remain on the scene if possible. If your vehicle or phone has tracking, tell the dispatcher.
Look out for one another
- Call 911 immediately if you witness a crime in progress.
- Pay attention to specific details. License plates, features of the vehicles involved (including any damage), descriptions of suspects and the direction of travel can all be helpful. Give this information to responding officers.
- If you have video of the crime, give a copy to the police or give them your contact information.
If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers online or call 1-800-222-8477.