Former Secret Service agent advises on how to survive a carjacking

Security expert says important thing to remember is communication

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The single most-important thing to remember when being carjacked with a child in the car is "communication," according to a security expert who has protected several presidents.

"You have got to let that guy know there is a kid in the car. They don't want your son or daughter, they want the car," Jim Napolitano, a former Secret Service agent, said.

Napolitano, along with Colonel Bernie McCabe, a former Commander of the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force team, and Thom Bolsch, also a former Secret Service agent, now operate a security firm called Universal Safety and Security Solutions.

The trio recently walked Channel 2 through a few different carjacking scenarios pointing to point out common mistakes victims make.

Napolitano and other security experts have said focusing on the car, your replaceable property, is the wrong approach.

"Carjacking happens more often than you may think, and you want to get out of it with your life, and the lives of your loved ones. You don't care about the car," Napolitano said.

In terms of statistics, it is nearly impossible to determine how often carjackings happen. Nationwide uniform crime reporting standards don't call for carjackings to be tallied in a separate category.

Most often carjackings are lumped into the robbery category.

Napolitano warns that always leaving a way out ranks highly among things to remember when protecting yourself against carjacking.

"If there is that guy in the median and he's coming for you, where are you going to go? You need to have space from the car in front, where you can get out of there if you need to," Napolitano said.

In general, Napolitano, McCabe and Bolsch encourage focusing on the task at hand, such as walking to your car directly and quickly in a parking lot, rather than talking on a cellphone, as the distraction could make you an easier target.

"They're looking at the car they want, then they're looking at you," Napolitano said.

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