I received an email from my dad this morning with a forwarded warning message about a potential car jacking scenario. I love that my dad wants to warn me about such possible dangers lurking around so that I am in the know and can be vigilant in paying attention to my surroundings and take any necessary extra steps in protecting myself and my family. I’ll admit it makes me feel loved and cared for, even though I already knowing that my dad does love and care for me in all circumstances, not just my safety.
I’m a real Doubting Thomas when I see these type of mass forwarded warnings, though. There are so many going around the internet at any given time, and they renew themselves every so often. Its annoying, frustrating, and disheartening to know that there are people out there that want to stir the pot of chaos and fear and this is their method for doing so.
I read the email in its entirety, so I had all the facts. The basic jist of the warning is this:
You’re out somewhere, head to your car, hop in, put the vehicle in reverse, turn to look out the back window as you begin to back up and see something, a flyer or something, on your back window. You put the vehicle in park, hop out to grab whatever it is off the window (leaving your door open, of course) and this is where the carjackers come in. The email points out that, in the case of women, the carjackers may get away with a lot more than the vehicle: most women carry purses. Inside said purse is way too much info to be handing over to criminals, such as your home address, your house keys, banking info in the form of at least credit cards, debit cards, and possibly a check book, plus there is any money that may be in your wallet in your purse. The email warning goes on to say that you should just drive away and remove the item from the window later.
My first thought was “Good to know.” I tend not to worry about such things to such a degree that, almost always, (I know my parents are going to disapprove of this when they read it) I leave the van unlocked, keys in the center console, many times my wallet is in there, too, unless I’m going into a store or other place that I will need my wallet. I’ve done this most of my adult life. My thought is that if someone needs the vehicle that bad, I would rather they didn’t destroy the vehicle in any way just trying to steal it. Also, considering most of the time I am driving a vehicle that may look great but either has or is about to have some form of mechanical issue, I figure if they need the vehicle that bad, take it and good luck. I’ll file a police report and they will either be apprehended or not, I’ll get the vehicle back or not. Sure, it would such royally and I would be stressed out to the max, but, either way, I would have to figure out how to get another vehicle so I could continue to work (and replace all of my cleaning supplies. ugh.). Every now and again, I get the feeling I should take my keys and wallet with me, so I do, but that is a very rare occurrence.
My second thought was “I need to verify this warning as being true.” Off to snopes.com I went. Once on the site, I did a search for the warning, which turned up at the top of the list of search results. Snopes.com classifies this warning as false.
Apparently, this “warning” has been around since at least 2004. Snopes.com also says that the law enforcement officials they have spoken with say this scenario is contrary to how most carjackers work, though there is belief that the scenario could be used. There most definitely isn’t a crime wave in action here.
The warning still holds some value to it, though. It’s a reminder to be aware of your surroundings, remember that your Invincibility Cape stopped working somewhere around the end of 3rd grade, despite the continued wearing and belief in its abilities. If somethings seems amiss, it just might be and you should take the actions necessary to protect yourself and your family by stopping to think before just acting.
Its unfortunate, but this time of year provides a ton of opportunities for criminal activity. We are busy, running around taking care of this or that holiday errand. When we are busy, many of us stop paying attention because we are so focused on what we need to do next, where we need to go next, “I wonder if anyone is going to want cranberries with their Christmas dinner?” Have all the thoughts about where you are going, what you are doing, what needs to happen next, and Christmas dinner particulars all you want, but never stop doing the one thing that will make sure everything you’re trying to get accomplished gets done: take care of yourself, and that includes making sure you are safe.
Put your antennae up, see the people around you, move your head around instead of being hyper focused, listen to that inner voice that could be trying to warn you of something you aren’t consciously aware of. This is stuff you should be doing all the time anyway. I’m not advocating executing your day with the vigor of a combat soldier. Just pay attention. Be smart. And never forget that Christmas, or any day, just isn’t going to be the same if you’re not in it.