Car Jacking
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Basic Information

Car-jacking (a portmanteau of "car hijacking") is the crime of stealing a car or other automobile by seizing it whilst it is in use. This is often done with the simple intention of gaining possession of the car - whether for use as transport or for black market resale and by definition bypasses the majority of anti-theft measures that can be built in; otherwise, the vehicle will be seized with the purpose of capturing or robbing the operator and/or passengers of other goods as at least a partial objective.

Truly audacious car-jackers might operate against a moving vehicle, but outside the realms of Hollywood this is almost suicidally dangerous for a baseline human - more typically the vehicle is either stopped first or ambushed when barely moving (for example in slow urban traffic). The driver may then be forced to operate their vehicle under duress or may be ejected and their position taken over.

Almost all modern vehicles now allow the driver to remotely lock all of the doors at the touch of a button, which makes the casual car-jacker's life more difficult (as it is harder to open a locked door, punch the driver and throw them out onto the tarmac, likewise to drop into the seat behind them, press a weapon to their neck and say "drive"), but on the down side, technological improvements permit remote car-hacking, which is potentially even less fun. Standing outside and threatening the occupants may be frustrated by ballistic glass (a rare installation, but much cheaper than it used to be) and/or bodywork armour. Again, none of this helps if the driver leaves the doors unlocked and/or the windows open.

Typically, car-jacking will be more severely punished (subject, of course, to the person responsible being caught and/or convicted) than taking an unoccupied car since it perforce involves some degree of assault as well as robbery.

Some jurisdicitions give people with the appropriate credentials authority to commandeer vehicles that they require for their business. This can be hard to tell from a regular car-jacking, except for the remote possibility of getting the vehicle back and the total lack of penalties for the person responsible.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A popular way for fugitives to acquire transport in a hurry.
  • Carjacking expensive vehicles remains a lucrative source of income for criminals with the ability to successfully fence the prize. Those driven by the idle and/or careless rich (and especially those driven by rich teenagers and young adults) are particular targets.
  • Can also be targeted at kerb-crawlers by criminals disguised as prostitutes - with the added benefit that a kerb crawler may be unwilling to contact police (who tend not to share environments with kerb crawlers and prostitutes for very long anyway).
  • Of course, the unlucky car-jacker can end up mugging the monster, either immediately (when they discover their target rather better prepared and more aggressive than they hoped) or later (once the target has made a few phone calls). Rolling a senior figure in organised crime out of their car will be a very poor move for the average gangsta.
  • As usual, police in many jurisdictions assist the commission of this crime by aggressively controlling what weapons can be carried in cars.
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