Martial Arts for Life

On A Quest To Be The Best!

Family Safety: Carjacking & Vehicle Safety


Thousands of unsuspecting motorists are car jacked each year. Carjacking is a violent form of motor vehicle theft. It is a serious threat to one’s personal safety because the perpetrator uses force to steal the vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle occupants are kidnapped during a carjacking. The worst case scenario occurs when victims are transported to a secondary crime scene, which is usually more dangerous than the original confrontation.

Many people mistakenly assume that carjacking crimes occur only in blighted areas. Carjackings can and do occur in all types of communities of varying socio-economic status. On July 19th, a couple was carjacked at gunpoint on Watchung Avenue in Chatham. And in May, The Cranford Patch reported on a carjacking that took place on Raritan Road in Cranford where the victim was threatened at knifepoint.

The recommended approach to remaining safe while driving is to remain cautious, use common sense, and educate yourself on techniques used by carjackers and what to do in a threatening situation. In any dangerous situation, you are going to fall into one of two categories: you will either have absolutely no idea what to do in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, or you will have some idea of what to do. Obviously, you want to have a good idea of what actions to take.

In order to form a plan of action, we must first understand some facts about carjacking crimes. According to a 9 year study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a weapon was used in nearly three-quarters (74%) of carjacking victimizations. Guns and knives were the most popular weapons chosen by thieves. Nearly one-third (32%) of victims of completed carjackings were injured.

A majority (68%) of carjacking incidents occurred at night (6 p.m. – 6 a.m.). 44% of carjacking incidents occurred in an open area, such as on the street or near public transportation and 24% occurred in parking lots or garages or near commercial places such as stores, gas stations, restaurants/bars, etc.

Some of the most common techniques employed by carjackers include:

1.) The Bump: The attacker bumps the victim’s vehicle from behind. The victim gets out to assess the damage and exchange information. This is the tactic that was used to carjack the victims in Chatham.

2.) Good Samaritan: The attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. They may simulate an injury. The victim stops to assist, and the vehicle is taken.

3.) The Ruse: The vehicle behind the victim flashes its lights or the driver waves to get the victim’s attention. The attacker tries to indicate that there is a problem with the victim’s car. The victim pulls over and the vehicle is taken.

4.) The Trap: Carjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim’s car.

Awareness and avoidance are always the first steps in remaining safe, so let’s go over some common sense tips to reduce your risk of being carjacked:

– Drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. Keep your cell phone within reach.

– When stopped in traffic, look for possible escape routes. Leave enough room between your vehicle and the car in front of you to maneuver easily enough to escape.

– When stopped at a red light, use your rear-view and side mirrors to monitor your surroundings. This makes it less likely for an attacker to surprise you.

– Always keep your cell phone close by and have emergency numbers pre-programmed.

Be wary of panhandlers or people asking for directions and handing out flyers.

– If you are bumped in traffic, be suspicious of the accident. Contact the police immediately.

– Don’t pull over in any isolated area. Get the other drivers attention and motion to him to follow you, and drive to a gas station or busy parking lot before getting out.

– Be cautious of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car. It’s okay to get help, just be alert and cautious.

If all else fails and you find yourself confronted by an armed carjacker, do not resist! Give up your keys or money (if demanded) without resistance. Never argue, fight, or chase the carjacker. You can be seriously injured. In a vast majority of carjacking scenarios, the vehicle is the primary target. There is a good chance that the victim might not be harmed. However, if you cannot escape in your vehicle, it is imperative that you get out of the vehicle right away. Remember, non-confrontation is often the best response. The object is not to thwart the criminal, but to survive!

In the wake of a carjacking, get to a safe place and call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information.

*Statistics and tips compiled from various sources including: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Apex Self-Defense, C. McGoey  (Crime Doctor ).

Martial Arts in Union County, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Karate Union County NJ – Martial Arts for Life

Would you like more information about Martial Arts classes in New Providence, NJ? Fill out the form below!

July 25, 2013 Posted by | Personal Safety | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Safety: Home Invasion Prevention | New Providence NJ | Summit NJ | Berkeley Heights NJ


Family Safety: Home Invasion Prevention

One of the most frightening crimes that can occur is a home invasion. A home invasion is defined as “the act of illegally entering a private and occupied dwelling with violent intent for the purpose of committing a crime against the occupants.” The main difference between a simple burglary and a home invasion is intent. Residential burglars typically target homes that appear unoccupied and seek to perpetrate their crime in the absence of the homeowner. Conversely, the home invasion robber targets homes when they are most likely to be occupied (nights and weekends for example).

How do home invasion robbers pick their victims, and how do they get into your home? According to security consultant Chris McGoey, “Some home invaders might have been in your home before as a delivery person, installer or repair vendor. Home robbers rarely work alone and rely on an overwhelming physical confrontation to gain initial control and instill fear in you. The greatest violence usually occurs during the initial sixty seconds of the confrontation…”

While it is true that some home invaders violently enter the residence by kicking in the door, many home invasions begin by the homeowner simply answering their front door when someone knocks. Some common phrases used to get you to open your door are:

“I have a delivery I need you to sign for.”

“I’m sorry. I think I just backed into your car outside.”

“I think I just hit a dog and I’m looking for the owner.”

Home invaders have also been known to pose as maintenance or public utility workers, delivery men, or even police officers.

Once an intruder gains access to the home, various demands are typically made to gain possession of jewelry, cash, and other valuables. Some invaders will tie their victims up while they ransack the home. Others will force one or more of the victims to leave with them, driving them to an ATM machine to withdraw cash.

Although few statistics are available on the crime of home invasion, because it is not defined as a crime in its own right in most jurisdictions, recent statistics have indicated you are eight times more likely to be involved in a home inva­sion attack than you are to be involved in a house fire. Below are ten tips to help you and your loved ones avoid the horror of a home invasion.

Top 10 Home Invasion Prevention Tips

1.) Secure your home with strong doors and locks. Research indicates the most common point of entry is the front door. Properly securing your front entrance will make it more difficult for an intruder to simply kick the door in. At the very least, a secure front door will slow down an intruder and buy you some time to contact the authorities or escape. Proper security includes solid core doors, heavy duty locks, and window security devices. Chain latches are considered ineffective as a barrier.

2.) Never open your door to strangers or solicitors. A majority of home invasions start with a simple knock on the door. Demand identification from anyone who you do not know. This includes utility workers, delivery persons, repairmen and even police officers who are in plain clothes. Verify the identification by calling that place of business (or the person’s employer). If someone claims to be in distress or needs assistance or directions, tell them you are calling the police to respond.

3.) Develop an escape plan for your family and rehearse it. Train family members on where to go and what to say. If someone can escape, the invaders will have lost their advantage of privacy and time. Children are often overlooked as potential rescuers and sometimes are not as well guarded. If the opportunity presents itself, a trained child can dial 911, activate an alarm panic button, or escape to the neighbor’s house to summon the police. Remember, the best defense against home invasion is education and planning.

4.)  Maintain good relations with your neighbors, and keep an eye on each other. Get involved with your community. If you see something suspicious at a neighbor’s house, contact them or the police immediately.

5.) Lock all doors, windows, and garages at all times. Fortification of rear doors, sliding glass doors, and garage doors are also important.

6.) If you have a home security system, set the home perimeter alarm at night. If someone attempts to gain entry, the alarm will sound, giving you time to respond.

7.) Keep porches and all entrances well lit, i.e., driveways, garages and alleys.  Check bulbs regularly.

8.) Senior citizens or women living alone might consider leaving items such as a pair of men’s boots or other garments laying about, giving the impression that other persons reside there.

9.) Consider owning a dog for protection. If this isn’t possible, an empty dog bowl left on the porch gives the impression that there is a dog on the premises.

10.) Don’t fight over property with an invader. Let them have the property; it is not worth your life and can be replaced. Never follow the intruder from scene, call 911 immediately and give the best description you can.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Educating yourself, preparing your dwelling and forming a well thought-out plan with your family is the first (and perhaps most effective) line of defense against a home invasion.

*Statistics and tips compiled from various sources including: J. Frankle (GSE, Inc.), Torrington Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, C. McGoey.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Personal Safety | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Safety: Holiday Shopping Safety

As featured on the New Providence Patch: Read our Blog on The New Providence Patch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Let’s keep it that way by staying healthy and safe this holiday season. Now that Black Friday has officially kicked off the holiday shopping season, many of us will be hitting shopping centers and malls in search of good deals on gifts for friends and family.

Statistics show that crime typically increases during and after the holiday season. This is because more people with cash, gifts, gift cards, etc. are out and about, which presents more opportunities for the criminal looking for an easy score.

Crimes of Opportunity

Crimes of opportunity are those resulting from spontaneous, unlawful action due to a situation that presents itself without prior planning. Such acts have little or no premeditation. For example, a criminal who notices a vehicle in an isolated section of a parking garage filled with shopping bags and then takes the opportunity to break into the vehicle to steal the contents is committing a crime of opportunity.

Our main goal is to avoid providing an easy opportunity for criminals. Here are some ways to avoid being targeted during holiday shopping trips:

1.) Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you have to shop at night, go with friends or other family members. Avoid shopping alone at night.

2.) Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or anything that would attract unwanted attention from a potential mugger or thief.

3.) When approaching your car check to see if anyone is hiding underneath the vehicle. It is possible for someone to hide under your vehicle and grab you as you get in. There have also been cases of assailants using a knife or other weapon to slash or attack their victim’s leg from under the vehicle, making it difficult to run or fight back.

4.) Don’t carry too many packages at once. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom to move. Consolidate your purchases into a small number of bags. Do not make it appear that you have purchased a large number of items.  

5.) Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card instead.

6.) ALWAYS stay alert. Be on the lookout for anyone in the vicinity of your vehicle that is acting strangely. People do not typically hang around parking lots or parked cars, particularly if they are not carrying any packages, do not have their keys out, etc. Return to the store immediately if you see any suspicious activity near your car.

7.) Tell a friend or family member when and where you’re going, and when you’re expected to return.

8.) Do not purchase items from non-licensed solicitors in parking lots. The goods being offered are often counterfeit or stolen. Even more dangerous, these types of deals are often a set-up for a mugging or robbery attempt.

9.) Make sure any valuables are out of sight or locked in your trunk. Remember, MP3 players, iPods, cell phones, laptop computers, GPS systems, satellite radios and other small electronic devices are a car burglar’s dream.

10.) If you see something, say something! Contact mall security or your local police department if you witness any suspicious or criminal activity while doing your holiday shopping.  If you need immediate response, or anticipate personal safety could be a legitimate concern, call 9-1-1 immediately. And never, ever attempt to investigate suspicious activity on your own. Contacting mall security or police if you witness odd behavior – like someone wiggling the door handles on a vehicle – can help prevent potential crimes like car burglaries and auto theft.

Finally, I want to offer a word of caution on one safety tip that has been taught to people for years, particularly in women’s self-defense courses. It is often recommended that you have your keys ready, in your hand, prior to leaving the store you are shopping in. A few years ago, I learned of a case where the FBI had apprehended a criminal who had abducted and subsequently murdered nearly thirty women across the country over the span of several years. He had approached all his victims in mall parking lots. When the Federal agents were interviewing this career criminal, they asked him how he went about selecting his victims. He stated that he looked for women who had car keys in their hand because that meant they were not being picked up by anyone and were alone. I do think it is a good idea to have your keys (or key fob) in your hand, just keep that hand in a pocket or out of plain view.

If you are unable to follow these suggestions, I recommend doing your holiday shopping online with reputable websites in order to avoid putting yourself at risk.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Personal Safety | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Safety Training: Awareness & Distance

As featured on the New Providence Patch: Read our Blog on The New Providence Patch

Special thanks to S.A. Arrango for his research.

According to recent data provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Every 22.2 seconds – a violent crime occurs
Every 30.9 minutes – a murder occurs
Every 1.2 minutes – a robbery occurs
Every 36.6 seconds – an aggravated assault occurs
Every 3.2 seconds – a property crime occurs
Every 14.4 seconds – a burglary occurs
Every 4.8 seconds – a larceny-theft occurs
Every 26.4 seconds – a motor vehicle theft occurs

In any crime situation, the victim will fall into one of two categories: he or she will either have some idea of what to do to in order to survive and escape or no idea whatsoever – which category would you rather be in?

Awareness and distance are our two most important safety skills. People young and old can learn to be more aware and how to create distance from potential danger.

-Walk purposefully, communicate calm and confidence. Protect your personal safe zone and trust your instincts. Re-alert yourself as you pass through doorways and entrances/exits. Practice using peripheral vision.

-Develop a habit of raising your awareness and being sure you have full use of your hands and feet when moving in or out of a secure area. Have your faculties about you and focus your attention briefly on being in a safe and aware state of mind.

-Evaluate entry areas to your home and garage. Consider locations that could hide an intruder from your view while entering or leaving your home. Consider removing shrubbery or lighting any location than could conceal an attacker. Use motion sensor lighting near doors or driveway access points.

-Keep garage doors closed and locked. Remove remote door openers from vehicles regularly parked in your driveway. 

-Teach children the importance of Safe People and Safe Places. Show your children common safe places and how to recognize them – a policeman, a store clerk at the checkout counter, a Mom with children. Teach children how to recognize a safe place if they feel threatened – the checkout at a store, a group of well dressed adults.

-Try not to carry a purse, if you must, carry it securely under your arm. Never wrap the strap around your arm or enter a tug-of-war if a thief grabs your purse. You could be seriously injured.

-Adults and children alike should avoid walking alone and stay away from dark walkways, stairwells and alleys. Learn to avoid short-cuts that take you from the public view. Teach children how to say “No” to adults asking them for help. Adults should ask other adults, not children, for directions, help with packages or for other assistance.

-Consider your return approach when you park your car. Pass up parking spaces in corners and without a clear view from several angles. Stalkers generally attack on your return to the car when you are distracted, your arms are full and they have evaluated you as a target.

-Learn and teach loved ones the importance of maintaining a safe distance in any situation. Experts teach three primary safe zones – about 20 feet, about 10 feet and reaching distance. At each of these distances we can develop effective safety responses to danger or aggression.

-Have a “safety drill” rehearsed with your children to escape danger or safely lock them in the car if you are threatened. Practice this drill just as you would practice a fire drill in a school or business. Teach loved ones there is always a safer place to be if danger presents itself.

-Glance into your backseat and floorboards before entering your car. Always lock your doors whether you are in or out of your vehicle, or home. Keep windows at least partially rolled up to avoid someone reaching in to unlock and open your door.

-Keep your purse, wallet or briefcase on the floor or under the seat at all times. Do not leave any packages, packs or bags in your parked and locked car even if they don’t contain valuables.

-If you are bumped from behind by another vehicle, do not immediately exit your car. ASSESS THE SITUATION. If you feel uneasy, remain in your vehicle until police arrive. If the other party leaves the scene note vehicle description and tag – do not follow.

-If someone threatens you with a weapon, give your vehicle up immediately after you collect your children. DO NOT FIGHT OR ARGUE. Your life is more important than your car.

-If your car breaks down, raise the hood to signal for help. If possible remain in your car. If someone stops to assist you, have them call for help. Do not allow strangers inside your vehicle and do not accept a ride from them.

Remember, awareness and distance remain the two most important safety skills for people of all ages!

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Personal Safety | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment