BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — This year, safety is of the essence when you’re driving around town, and in and out of the car while running errands.
Carjackings are up nationwide. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says beginning in June 2020, the United States experienced a 13% increase in auto thefts. And in Minneapolis, there have been 540 this year — five times the amount in 2019.READ MORE: Edina Police Asking Public To Lock Cars, Garage Doors Following Recent Burglaries
The busiest shopping season is underway, and at Mall of America, shoppers are heading into the season with joy, but also with caution.
Maria Dockendorf and Tessia Gebherd have been friends since they were sophomores in high school. Now college students, they met up at Mall of America for a shopping reunion. They both say they keep safety in mind.
“I usually lock my car all the time, like double check, make sure it honks and stuff,” Gebherd said.
READ MORE: Woman Averts Attempted Carjacking In Southwest Minneapolis As Similar Crimes Surge In The City
“I usually don’t leave anything valuable in my car at all just in case, and then just like look for parking that is like closer to places where they have cameras and stuff,” Dockendorf said.
Safety experts say after shopping, go straight to your car while looking at surroundings. Once you get inside, don’t sit and scroll on your phone. Lock the doors and get moving.
The Richfield Police Department offers this simple tip: Keep car keys and house keys on separate rings, so even if someone gets your car, they can’t get in your house.
Police all over the metro say the number-one reason cars are stolen is people leave keys in the car for convenience.
Two other carjacking safety tips from police: At red lights, leave a car space ahead of you in case you need to accelerate fast.MORE NEWS: Minneapolis Carjacking Victim Says He Was 'Absolutely In Shock' By Suspect's Young Age
And don’t resist if someone tries to take your car. Your life is not worth it. Click here for more tips.