How to Protect Yourself from a Carjacking

One of the keys to protecting yourself and your family is preparation. At Mace,® we have the personal defense products to prepare you for most threatening situations. The number of carjackings is on the rise in several cities, including Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Oakland.

Cleveland, where Mace® is headquartered, has seen carjackings increase 50 percent over the last two years. The threat captured headlines when Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek was carjacked and fatally shot on New Year's Eve.

The uptick in carjackings across the country has coincided with the coronavirus pandemic - which has kept many young adults away from school, social services, and other activities. Police say many of the attackers are young armed robbers. So what can you to do protect yourself and prevent your family from becoming victims of a carjacking? MACE®  is here to help. 


  • Park in well-lit, visible areas
  • Keep your car windows up and doors locked
  • Equip your vehicle with a GPS for tracking
  • Give yourself room in traffic to move around other cars and avoid getting "boxed in"
  • Do not wait in your car in the driveway of your home

Practical advice? Mace® asked Kelly Sayre to weigh in on the topic. Sayre describes herself as a "wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend...someone who understands some of the fears women face on a daily basis." She is the founder of The Diamond Arrow Group, a organization that specializes in teaching others how to stay safe through situational awareness. 


Q: What can you do before you leave your house to protect yourself against a carjacking?

A big part of building situational awareness skills is preparation before you find yourself in a predicament. Here are some things to think about specifically relating to this type of crime.

-If your vehicle has auto-unlock settings, make sure they are turned off. Meaning, all the doors stay locked until you manually unlock them. Get in the habit of hitting the button to lock all the doors as soon as you enter your vehicle. Keep all your doors locked at the gas station.

-Try to spend the least amount of time sitting in your vehicle being distracted by your phone or looking for items when you’ve reached your destination or are about to leave. This also applies to getting gas at the gas station. Stay alert and watch for anyone paying too much attention to you or your vehicle.

-When parking your vehicle, back into the space as often as possible. This allows for less maneuvering of your vehicle (driving straight out vs. backing out and then driving away) if you need to drive away quickly.

-Make sure your MACE® pepper spray or gel is with you and within easy reach in your vehicle.

Q: What items do you carry with you for protection?

-I keep different tool options with me at all times. The most important factor in self-defense tools is you need to practice with them and feel confident using them effectively. The second most important factor is the tool needs to be with you or within easy reach when a situation presents itself. There is not a single tool that will help you if it’s left at home or in the bottom of your purse.

-The tool I would recommend in car-jacking scenarios where the attacker does not have a bladed weapon or firearm displayed, is MACE® pepper spray. Keep the spray within easy reach of your dominate hand and aim at the attacker’s face. Don’t be afraid to empty the entire container.

-If an attacker displays a bladed weapon (and has the ability to get to you) or a firearm, remember this: things can be replaced, your life and the lives of your loved ones are more valuable than stuff. Getting to safety and away from danger should be your number one priority.

Q: Any advice to those who think “it won’t happen to me?”

I like to remind everyone of the advice I’ve heard from many experts in personal protection. No one wakes up in the morning thinking they will be the victim of a crime that day. It’s not about living in fear or being paranoid, it’s about building daily habits to increase your personal safety and awareness skills. If you are just starting out, focus on getting curious about your surroundings. What can you see, hear, smell, and even feel in your environment? The natural intuition skills you were born with are there to keep you safe. Make sure you are listening to what your instincts are trying to tell you.


  • Give up your car and leave the scene
  • Avoid any verbal or physical altercations
  • Try to remember what the carjacker looked like
  • If there's a child in the car, tell the carjacker "my child is in the car"
  • Call 911

At MACE®  we focus on providing community and family safety through individual empowerment. Feel confident using personal safety devices from Mace® Brand, education is empowerment. Stay safe everyone. 


Another story you would enjoy: Hot Items Right Now From Mace Brand - Why Pepper Gels?

For more tips on building your situational awareness and vehicle safety skills, make sure to get on the Diamond Arrow Group email list to be notified when Kelly Sayre's book, Sharp Women: Embrace Your Intuition, Build Your Situational Awareness, and Live Life Unafraid, is available for purchase.

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