If there's one thing to highlight Detroit's sky-high level of crime, which was just listed as the worst in the country, it's a story from the city's own police chief, who says he was nearly carjacked this month -- in his police cruiser.
James Craig, formerly Cincinnati police chief, took a new post as head of the Detroit Police Department in July. (AP/Al Behrman)
MLive recalled that Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in July that he was surprised to learn that good drivers in Detroit had been blatantly running red lights.
He added, "I don't know if they just have total disregard for traffic laws or they're afraid of being carjacked."
But fast-forward a few months to the moment when Craig experienced such a harrowing moment himself.
Craig spoke of the incident, which occurred two weeks ago, at an anti-carjacking meeting Monday, according to the Detroit News.
"There are certain cars each suspect tends to (be attracted) to, and I guess they liked my police car — a police car with lights,” Craig said. “And one suspect jumped out and began running toward the passenger side of my vehicle ... as soon as I saw the suspect running to my car, I accelerated out of harm’s way," Craig said, according to the Detroit News.
"And then, candidly, I got angry ... I said, ‘I can’t believe this just almost happened,'" he continued, sharing his feelings about the incident.
Craig said when he first took this position in July, coming from Cincinnati, he learned how carjacking was "almost a way of life in Detroit."
Technology making cars more difficult to steal might be increasing carjacking incidents, according to Terri Miller, executive director of Help Eliminate Auto Thefts.
The meeting included other statistics about carjacking in the city. Here are a few:
- There's an 85 percent chance that carjackers aiming a gun will shoot.
- Carjackers assess a potential victim and decide whether or not to strike within seven seconds.
- Most carjackings occur in December. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the most popular days for theft.
- There have been approximately 582 carjackings in Detroit in 2013..
Forbes listed Detroit as the most dangerous city in the U.S., according to FBI statistics it analyzed. This is the fifth year Detroit topped the list, but, believe it or not, crime actually went down.
To avoid a carjacking situation and still follow traffic laws, law enforcement at the meeting recommended drivers remain inside their cars if they are uncomfortable after being bumped, a common tactic of carjackers.
It is also recommended people leave enough of a gap to avoid being boxed in and stuck at a red light or at train tracks.
Another tip was to have a vehicle identification number engraved onto the car's windshield. The Detroit News reported that Detective Brian Fountain said it would not only help police identify a stolen vehicle, but could dissuade someone from stealing it as retailers won't buy cars with such a number.