This refers to the letter by Mr Hassan Bashir ‘Car thefts’ (February 9). I fully agree with the writer. But it is not only car thefts on the increase it is also carjacking which has created a continuous threat for the car users. Car lifters have once again become active in the Federal Capital Islamabad - this time with new gadgets. According to reports in press an average of 4 to 5 vehicles are stolen or snatched every day in Islamabad. Over 350 vehicles were either snatched at gunpoint or stolen from different localities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi during the last six months.

It was further revealed from the said reports that some months ago the police had arrested a gang of auto-thieves in Islamabad and recovered foreign and local made jammers from them, through which they blocked trackers Global Positioning System (GPS). The recovery of the jammers put the business of GPS provider at risk, as the car-lifters jammed the satellite tracking system, by inserting a device in lighter holder, the report said.

In June last year in a section of the press a complaint by Javed Thanwey ‘Car tracking ordeal’, that his car in which vehicle tracking system was installed was stolen from Sharea Faisal in Karachi. But the vehicle tracking company, whose tracking system was installed in his car, first made some lame excuses for not making any progress in tracing the car and then after a few days told him flatly that his car could not be found. In this case it might be possible that car thieves must have blocked the GPS installed in his car by using jammers. Hence, the vehicle tracking companies also needs to tackle this new type of threat of jammers by installing some kind of device in the vehicles for example, Frequency Jamming Device (FJD) etc, to protect the GPS against use of jammers by the car thieves.

Another trick used by carjackers is to follow the intended victim to a suitable location with good escape routes and “bump” into the back of your car at low speed with enough force to make you believe a traffic accident had just occurred. Typically, the drivers of both vehicles pull over, stop, and get out discussing the damage. At this point the carjackers rob their victim at gunpoint and drive away with the victim’s car.

With little common sense and presence of mind attempts by carjackers can be prevented. Here are a few tips: -

Don’t park your car in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy foliage and at night always park in well-lighted areas.

As you approach your car, look around, under and inside your car and if safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors and drive away immediately. In the city always drive with your car door’s locked and windows rolled up. If you are bumped in traffic, by young males, be suspicious of the accident. Beware of the ‘Good Samaritan’ who offers to repair your car or a flat tire. It’s okay to get help, but be alert. Never offer lift to a stranger, even to women or to an old man unless you are satisfied. Never try to speed up your car if you are signaled to stop by some suspicious armed persons, they can open fire on your car in frustration. Use your common sense and act accordingly.

If you are confronted by an armed carjacker, stay calm and don’t resist. Give up your keys, money, cell phone etc, if demanded. If a carjacker has entered in your car and you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection/place to attract attention so that bystanders can come to your help and call the police, but be sure you are not within the range of the gun or any other weapon of the hijackers while attempting to do so. This should be hundred percent ensured because your personal safety is of utmost importance.

SQN LDR (Retd) S.AUSAF HUSAIN,

Karachi, February 9.