Imagine you’re a police officer and you see this.

A car being driven in an erratic manner with a person desperately clinging to the hood screaming for the driver to stop.

According to NJ Transit police, this is exactly what happened in Bloomfield when off-duty NJ Transit officer Juan Guallpa was driving on Belleville Avenue. Police said Guallpa tried to get the driver’s attention while at the same time calling 911 and giving the dispatcher details on what was happening in real time.

Police say it was a carjacking that began when the car was left running with the door open outside of a Davey Street apartment. Authorities say Rasheed Hilton, 30 years old, saw the opportunity and took off with the car but not before the owner tried to stop him by vaulting onto the hood then hanging on for dear life.

Thanks to the off-duty officer’s instructions Bloomfield police quickly converged on the scene, according to police. Authorities say the car hit a parked truck then made it onto JFK Boulevard, where police took Hilton into custody.

As anti-theft technology improved on vehicles carjacking became an increasing means for auto theft over the years. And sometimes with deadly consequences, as was the case in the famous Mall at Short Hills carjacking, when Dustin Friedland was shot to death in front of his wife in the parking garage.

A 2016 carjack report from the state reveals firearms were used in 71% of all carjackings. The average value of a carjacked automobile was $8,011. 70% of all carjacked vehicles were recovered. The most common make to be carjacked? Toyota. The most common month? October.

Always be very aware of your surroundings because that same crime report shows only 8% of carjackings had any witnesses.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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