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Carjackings Reported In South Chicago, Uptown, River North This Weekend; Police Hold Safety Webinar

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police on Saturday were searching for the culprits in a pair of carjackings the night before.

The first incident happened in the South Chicago neighborhood. Police said a 21-year-old woman was sitting in her sport-utility vehicle around 9:15 p.m. Friday when a man walked up and tapped against the passenger side with a gun.

He told the woman to get out of the car, which she did, police said. He then hopped into the victim's 2013 Toyota Highlander and drove off. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old man was carjacked at 9:20 p.m. Friday in the 800 block of West Wilson Avenue in Uptown.

The victim told police he was trying to sell his car and met a man during a test drive. During that drive, the man became irate and asked the victim if he was a police officer, police said.

The assailant then took out a handgun and ordered the victim out of the black Lexus RX 330. The car was last seen heading east on Wilson Avenue from Hazel Street with a black Chevrolet Equinox trailing behind.

At 6:37 p.m. Saturday, a 38-year-old man was in his parked car in the 100 block of West Kinzie Street in River North when two unknown vehicles pulled up.

One vehicle parked behind the victim's car, the other in front, police said. Two assailants then got out of one of the vehicles and came up to the victim's car.

One of the assailants took out a gun and demanded the victim's car, police said. He complied, and the assailants drove off east on Kinzie Street, police said.

There have been at least 150 carjackings in Chicago now since the beginning of the year.

An interactive map at this link shows the change in the number of carjackings in Chicago neighborhoods between 2019 and 2020.

The Chicago Police Department said it is crucial to know what to do if you become a carjacking victim. The Chicago Police Near North (18th) District held a Zoom webinar on Saturday to educate drivers.

The first rule, police said, is that you should not risk your life - hand over the vehicle.

Further, while acknowledging that being the victim of a carjacking is a tense situation, police advised that victims try to take note of the physical characteristics of the carjackers.

Victims are advised to listen carefully and try to remember any particular words or phrases that could help identify the suspects.

Victims should also take note of which direction the carjackers go as they leave the scene.

And it sounds simple –but you should know your own license plate number, and keep a copy of your vehicle identification number (VIN) and serial numbers for any property that you keep in your car - including your cell phone and tablet.

And a group of community activists aren't waiting for the police to get a handle on the carjacking problem.

Every Saturday, volunteers will stand at gas stations throughout the city. This Saturday, they were at the BP at 52nd Street and Lake Park Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

They don't plan to intervene if a carjacking or other crime occurs. Rather, they are hoping their presence will create a safe place for people to fill up.

"For or some kind of activity to create other crimes, dump the cars, and car chase without any regard for who they crash into, and so that's why this has just become too prolific for us to stand by on the sidelines and watch," said organizer Steven DeJoie.

Organizers said they came up with the idea after several family members and friends became carjcking victims in recent weeks.

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