Police: "All of us experiencing" surge in 'bump & run' carjackings; here's what to do if you're targeted

MILWAUKEE/WEST MILWAUKEE -- There has been a spike in carjackings in Milwaukee and surrounding communities this summer, and police say the thieves are using new tactics. Last week, Milwaukee police warned about a surge in "bump and run" carjackings -- and on Sunday, July 19th, an officer-involved shooting occurred in West Milwaukee following one of these "bump and run" carjackings in West Allis. So what should you do if you are targeted?

These "bump and run" carjackings begin with a minor crash. The suspect will "bump" your vehicle -- and wait for you to get out and check the damage. When you do -- the thief will take off in your vehicle.

Police say people alone in their vehicles are being targeted -- and many of the victims have been women.

According to Wisconsin law, when a car accident happens, you're supposed to stop and make sure everyone is okay.

But police say that's what these thieves are hoping you'll do.

"A vehicle strikes another vehicle from behind, bumps it, causing a slight accident. (Then), the driver of the vehicle that got struck pulls over and gets out and inspects their vehicle. When this takes place -- that vehicle is stolen," Lt. John Kaltenbrun with the Milwaukee Police Department said.

Milwaukee police say they've seen 10 of these "bump and run" carjackings in roughly the last two weeks.

"It's not a Milwaukee problem -- it`s a metropolitan problem. All of us are experiencing it," West Milwaukee Police Chief Dennis Nasci said.

A "bump and run" carjacking in West Allis on Sunday resulted in an officer-involved shooting in West Milwaukee. Two suspects were taken into custody -- one of them injured as a result of the shooting.

"We know there are more than just these individuals involved in this type of crime," Chief Nasci said.

Police want you to know what you should do if you're involved in a similar situation.

Here are some tips:

    "If a passenger gets out of the vehicle instead of the driver from the vehicle that strikes you, that may be a warning sign because why would the passenger be coming out instead of the driver? Or if a number of people start coming out -- again, that becomes a warning sign," Lt. Kaltenbrun said.

    "Our dispatchers across the Milwaukee area are very aware of this tactic that`s going on," Chief Nasci said.

    Milwaukee Alderman José Pérez tells FOX6 News these tips are working. A recent "bump and run" attempt was stopped in his district when the driver followed advice from police.

    Of course, not every fender-bender is going to be sinister -- but police want to make sure you stay alert.

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