Carjackings in Posh Neighborhoods

Last weekend, a woman was driving in the very, very old-school posh Ansley Park neighborhood, when she was carjacked:

A female driver was rear-ended by a stolen vehicle near Midtown on Sunday — and then carjacked by one of its passengers, Atlanta police said.

The incident, and six subsequent arrests, come amid growing crime concerns among Midtown residents.

According to the police incident report, the victim was driving on Avery Drive NE preparing to turn onto Beverly Road when she was rear-ended by a silver Jeep Liberty with four men inside. The victim got out of her car and attempted to speak with the driver of the Liberty, but he did not roll down his window.

The driver-side passenger then got out and “jumped into” the victim’s Ford Escape, police said. Both vehicles drove off.

She lost her car, purse and phone, none of which have been recovered. Fortunately, six people have been arrested in connection with this crime, so at least they’re off the streets for now. Here she was, trying to be the responsible citizen, and she loses a great deal. But at least they didn’t wave a gun in her face, like the carjackers near my neighborhood usually do.

Carjacking seems like a better career plan than armed robbery of stores. Do it quickly in the dark, and you have a pretty decent chance of netting yourself a couple of thousand dollars from a chop shop; robbing a store gets you a few hundred and has a lot more risk, b0th from getting shot by the store clerk or a bystander and from security cameras. Robbing stores seems like drug dealing: more or less a minimum-wage job, only with way more downside. Carjacking, done right, could theoretically be profitable—but of course, you have to split the profits at least three ways (jacker, driver of Jeep, chop shop). None of the three crimes makes any sense at all from a cost/benefit standpoint, but nobody ever said criminals were smart.

So if this were going to be a story, the drama would have to lie in what’s in the stolen car. It could be written that her ex-husband or whoever set her up to be carjacked, but the only place that goes is murdering her, and what makes this crime stand out to me is that other than the fender tap, it wasn’t violent. Imagine, however, the ex knowing the woman has something really important in the car: jewelry, drugs, bearer bonds. Pay the carjackers, get the goods, let them keep the car. This is ultimately foolish, because of course the jackers are going to flip on him, and even if he managed to do it so they don’t know what he looks like, it’s not going to take the cops long to settle on him as a suspect. It would be hard to pull it off as drama.

But in my stories, Detective Diana Siddal lives right down the block from where the carjacking happened. Imagine what happens if she’s out for a stroll.