Early in February, an attempted carjacking in Homewood brought home a trend that has been gaining regional attention.
The motorist in the incident drove off when confronted by the would-be carjackers, but they fired shots at him while he fled, striking nearby vehicles and homes.
Homewood police are still investigating, and they note that car thefts and carjackings are on the increase, not just here but in the region. There have been 29 incidents between July 1, 2020, and Feb. 2, according to police.
Of those, 25 were thefts, 2 were carjackings and 2 were attempted carjackings.
Of the 25 stolen vehicles
- 15 vehicles were running with the key and/or fob in the car.
- 5 vehicles were running, but the key and/or fob was not in the vehicle.
- 3 vehicles had no key and/or fob.
- 2 vehicles were reported to have the key and/or fob missing along with the vehicle.
No one was injured in any of the incidents, including the one involving shots fired, police said.
Both carjacking vehicles were recovered and 21 of the 25 stolen vehicles have been recovered, according to police. So far, no arrests have been made in these incidents.
Car thefts and carjackings are also occurring in neighboring communities.
Just days after the attempted carjacking in Homewood, a woman at a gas station in Midlothian was menaced by an armed carjacker.
Park Forest reported a resident suffered minor injuries on Jan. 29 from broken glass after a would-be carjacker fired a shot at her car.
Homewood police offer residents tips on how to keep themselves and their vehicles safe from thieves.
- Do not leave your vehicle running in your driveway or any other location. A running vehicle is a perfect invitation for a thief.
- Park your car in the driveway and as far from the street as possible.
- Turn on front and rear outside house lights at night.
- Consider installing security cameras.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. That sounds like common sense, but drivers/passengers do leave items of value in plain view every day. If you leave valuable items visible in your vehicle, your vehicle is automatically a target.
- If you must leave valuable items in your vehicle while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously.
- Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store valuables in your vehicle any longer than necessary and certainly never overnight.
- Try to park in busy, well-lighted areas, or in your garage (if you have one).
- Raise your windows and lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. Items are often stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner expected to be away for “just a second.”
- Set any alarm or anti-theft device. If you have one, use it! Many people believe that vehicle alarms no longer make a difference, but they can be an effective deterrent to an auto burglary.
- Don’t think your dark tinted windows will hide your valuables. Thieves often use flashlights to see through tint, and after-market tint is handy to keep all the broken glass in one “sheet” when they break out your window.
What to do if your vehicle is vandalized, burglarized or taken:
- As soon as possible, call the police to report the incident.
- If you see suspicious activity, call the police immediately. The Homewood police non-emergency number is 708-206-3420. In an emergency, call 911.