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Carjacking

Carjacking

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Carjacking is a form of hijacking, where the crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

 is of stealing a motor vehicle
Motor vehicle theft
Motor vehicle theft is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle...

 and so also armed assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 when the vehicle is occupied. Historically, such as in the rash of semi-trailer
Semi-trailer
A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

 truck hijacking
Truck hijacking
Truck hijacking is the taking of a truck: normally for the consignment being carried, by force, or the threat of force to the driver....

s during the 1960s, the general term hijacking was used for that type of vehicle abduction, which did not often include kidnapping of the driver, and concentrated on the theft of the load, rather than the vehicle itself. During the later day car theft crime, typically, the carjacker is armed, and the driver is forced out of the car with the threat of bodily injury. In other rarer cases, the driver is kidnapped
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 under the assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 by a weapon and is retained as a passenger under duress, or made to drive his or her abductor. Women are particularly victimized in this latter method. The word is a portmanteau of car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 and hijacking. The term was coined by reporter Scott Bowles and EJ Mitchell, an editor with The Detroit News. The News first used the term in an August 28, 1991 report on the murder to Ruth Wahl, a 22-year-old Detroit drugstore cashier who was killed when she wouldn't surrender her Suzuki Sidekick, and in an investigative report examining the rash of what police called at the time "robbery armed unlawful driving away an automobile", plaguing Detroit.

Discussion


The crime is extremely hazardous, threatening the physical safety of both the carjacker and the victim. To secure the car, the carjacker may sometimes shoot the victim or physically push/pull the victim out of the driver's seat to force him or her out of the car.

South Africa



Carjacking is a significant problem in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, where it is called hijacking; there are some roadsigns warning people that certain areas are hotspots. There were 16,000 carjackings in one year (18 times the American rate per capita), and 60 murders a year resulting from these.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several new, unconventional anti-carjacking systems
Anti-hijack system
An anti-hijack system is an electronic system fitted to motor vehicles to deter criminals from hijacking them. Although these types of systems are becoming more common on newer cars, they have not caused a decrease in insurance premiums as they are not as widely known about as other more common...

 designed to harm the attacker were developed and marketed in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, where carjacking had become such a serious problem that they faced little resistance from local police and judiciary bodies. Among these was the now defunct Blaster
Blaster (flamethrower)
The Blaster was a 1998 invention by South African inventor Charl Fourie designed to provide a defence against carjackings....

, a small flame thrower that could be mounted to the underside of a vehicle.

United Kingdom


English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 has three levels of offence under the Theft Act 1968
Theft Act 1968
The Theft Act 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of offences against property in England and Wales.On 15 January 2007 the Fraud Act 2006 came into force, redefining most of the offences of deception.-History:...

, each pertaining to the mens rea
Mens rea
Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind". In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty...

 (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for "guilty mind") and the degree of violence used. The least serious is TWOC
TWOC
TWOC is an acronym standing for Taking Without Owner's Consent. Synonyms used by police in the UK include UTMV: Unlawful Taking of a Motor Vehicle, and TADA or TDA: Taking and Driving Away...

, which covers any unauthorized taking of a "conveyance", s1 theft
Theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

 applies when the carjacker intends to permanently deprive the owner of property, and violent carjacking is an aggravated form of theft under §8 robbery
Robbery
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear....

. Amid increasing carjacking cases in the UK, there has been some discussion whether specific carjacking laws are necessary. The current view is that all aspects of the offence are covered in the law, whether as road traffic offences, public order offenses, the use of weapons and firearms, etc., and there is no benefit in consolidating all the elements in one offence.

United States


Prior to the 90s the term "carjacking" didn't exist. With the murder of Ruth Wahl in Detroit, a new word was coined, new laws were passed and a new crime became part of the American landscape.
Before 1991 cars were hijacked or simply stolen.
But in 1991, Wahl, a 22-year-old Detroit cashier, and some friends went out in her new car and ended up on a deserted street. Some men appeared in a brown station wagon, then began chasing Wahl and her friends. They finally stopped her, shot and killed her, then took her car.
Suddenly, a crime that hadn't even existed a year earlier was causing nationwide anguish. Detroit alone reported 205 carjackings in one 21-day period.
In 1992, Congress passed a law making it a federal crime to use a weapon to steal a motor vehicle that's been shipped through interstate commerce "through force or violence or intimidation."
Throughout 1993, articles about carjackings appeared at the rate of more than one a week in newspapers throughout the country.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, a law was passed in 1992 making carjacking a federal crime
Federal crime
In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is a crime that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. In the United States, criminal law and prosecution happen at both the federal and the state levels; thus a “federal crime” is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law, and...

. This occurred amidst great media attention into the apparent spate of carjacking thefts, several of which resulted in homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

s. The November 29, 1992, killing of two Osceola County
Osceola County, Florida
Osceola County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 172,493. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate for the county is 244,045, making it the 17th fastest-growing county in the United States. Its county seat is Kissimmee.- History :Osceola County was...

men by carjackers using a stolen 9mm pistol resulted in the first Federal prosecution of a fatal carjacking.

The United States Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 estimates that in about half of all carjacking attempts, the attacker succeeds in stealing the victim's car. It's estimated that, between 1987 and 1992, about 35,000 carjacking attempts took place per year; and, between 1992 and 1996, about 49,000 attempts took place per year.
Many U.S. states, such as Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 and Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, include defending oneself against forcible entry of an occupied motor vehicle as part of their definition of justifiable homicide
Justifiable homicide
The United States' concept of justifiable homicide in criminal law stands on the dividing line between an excuse, justification and an exculpation. It is different from other forms of homicide in that due to certain circumstances the homicide is justified as preventing greater harm to innocents...

.

History


The first known carjacking took place on the open road in March 1912. The Bonnot Gang
Bonnot gang
The Bonnot Gang was a French criminal anarchist group that operated in France and Belgium during the Belle Époque, from 1911 to 1912...

 targeted a luxury Dion Bouton
De Dion-Bouton
De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer and railcar manufacturer operating from 1883 to 1932. The company was founded by the Marquis Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton and his brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux....

 in the Senart Forest, between Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The armed chauffeur
Chauffeur
A chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle such as a large sedan or limousine.Originally such drivers were always personal servants of the vehicle owner, but now in many cases specialist chauffeur service companies, or individual drivers provide...

 and young secretary in the vehicle were killed.

Carjacking in popular culture


  • Video games such as Grand Theft Auto
    Grand Theft Auto (series)
    Grand Theft Auto is a multi-award-winning British video game series created in the United Kingdom by Dave Jones, then later by brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke. It is primarily developed by Edinburgh based Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games...

    , The Godfather: The Game
    The Godfather: The Game
    The Godfather: The Game is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Electronic Arts. It is the second video game in the Godfather series and based upon the 1972 film of the same name. Originally released in March 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows, The Godfather...

    , Driver
    Driver (series)
    Driver is a series of mission-based driving video games developed by Reflections Interactive , and originally published by GT Interactive and later by Atari. The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, driving, and third-person shooting in open world environments...

    , Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
    Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
    Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction is a third-person shooter video game developed by Pandemic Studios and published on January 11, 2005 by LucasArts for PlayStation 2 and Xbox...

    and Scarface: The World Is Yours
    Scarface: The World is Yours
    Scarface: The World Is Yours is a video game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games. The game is based on and is a quasi-sequel to the 1983 motion picture Scarface starring Al Pacino reprising his role as Tony Montana, with André Sogliuzzo providing Montana's...

    feature carjacking as part of the gameplay which has attracted criticism from public figures.
  • The South African movie Tsotsi
    Tsotsi
    Tsotsi is a 2005 film written and directed by Gavin Hood. The film is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by popular South African artist Zola as well as a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African...

    features a carjacking as the main plot element.
  • In the Family Guy
    Family Guy
    Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

    episode "Road to Rupert
    Road to Rupert
    "Road to Rupert" is the ninth episode of season five of Family Guy. The episode follows Brian after he inadvertently sells Stewie's teddy bear, Rupert, during a yard sale. In an attempt to retrieve him, Stewie and Brian travel across the United States, eventually discovering he is with a child...

    ", Stewie and Brian carjack a man so they can get back to Rhode Island
    Rhode Island
    The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

    .
  • Larry Niven
    Larry Niven
    Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

    's short story "The Deadlier Weapon" features a carjacking.
  • Crash
    Crash (2004 film)
    Crash is a 2004 American drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Paul Haggis. The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California. A self-described "passion piece" for Haggis, Crash was inspired by a real life incident in which his Porsche was carjacked outside a video...

    is based on a real carjacking.
  • Hijack Stories
    Hijack Stories
    Hijack Stories is a 2000 South African crime film directed by Oliver Schmitz. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.-Cast:* Tony Kgoroge - Sox Moraka* Rapulana Seiphemo - Zama* Percy Matsemela - Fly...

    (2000 film) is a film about South African township crime, of which the main theme is carjacking. One of the main characters robs 10 cars and parks them in front of a police station.
  • Hawaii Five-0 in Episode 16 Detective Dany's ex-Wife's gets carjacked.
  • In the 2002 film Spider-Man
    Spider-Man (film)
    Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film, the first in the Spider-Man film series based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. It was directed by Sam Raimi and written by David Koepp...

    , a petty criminal named Dennis Carradine shoots Uncle Ben and steals the car. The theft and death of Uncle Ben is the impetus for Peter Parker to become Spider-Man.

See also

  • Aircraft hijacking
    Aircraft hijacking
    Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

  • Anti-hijack system
    Anti-hijack system
    An anti-hijack system is an electronic system fitted to motor vehicles to deter criminals from hijacking them. Although these types of systems are becoming more common on newer cars, they have not caused a decrease in insurance premiums as they are not as widely known about as other more common...

  • Auto theft
  • Castle doctrine
    Castle Doctrine
    A Castle Doctrine is an American legal doctrine arising from English common law that designates one's place of residence as a place in which one enjoys protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack...

  • Chop shop
    Chop shop
    In motor vehicle theft, a chop shop is a location or business which disassembles stolen automobiles for the purpose of selling them as parts. It may also be used to refer to a location or business that is involved with the selling of stolen or fraudulent goods in general, an example of the latter...

  • FBI
  • Federal crime
    Federal crime
    In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is a crime that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. In the United States, criminal law and prosecution happen at both the federal and the state levels; thus a “federal crime” is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law, and...

  • Hijacking (disambiguation)
  • Hostage taking
  • Kidnapping
    Kidnapping
    In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

  • Lorry hijacking
  • Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom
  • Piracy
    Piracy
    Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

  • Truck hijacking
    Truck hijacking
    Truck hijacking is the taking of a truck: normally for the consignment being carried, by force, or the threat of force to the driver....


External links