SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — The carjacking spike in the Chicago area was a motivation for police from Chicago and the suburbs to hold a seminar Sunday night – all to help people avoid becoming victims.

The seminar was put on by the Concerned Citizens League in Skokie. Residents attended the event in person and online.

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Crime and law enforcement experts discussed reasons why carjackings are happening and offered tactics to help residents stay safe and avoid being targets.

“Perhaps somebody’s traveling at that hour of the night, they’re coming home, they could call ahead; have a family member or family members waiting outside for them,” said retired Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy. “If they see people outside who normally aren’t there when they come home at that hour of the day or night, just keep on going.”

“They’re coming into these neighborhoods also with the carjacking and everything, so just to learn how to be safe; protect myself; protect my mom,” said Ellen Eisenberg of Lincolnwood.

A total of 352 carjackings have been reported in Chicago so far just this year.

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On Saturday night, three teens were arrested after the carjacking of a 44-year-old rideshare driver at 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway led to a crash that ended in Northwest Indiana.

When the car crashed on Route 30 in Merrillville, and police found a 15-year-old girl driving and a 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old boy as passengers.

To prevent being carjacked, a counter-violence expert pointed to simple tactics such as situational awareness, creating space between other cars for an escape plan, and even locking car doors.

“Many times when people are at a hotspot for carjacking at the ATM, they could be at a gas station, they could be at a highway exit, you want to make sure your doors are locked and someone can’t pop open a door and stick a gun to your head,” said counterviolence expert Carmi Lawrence.

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The leaders of the seminar on Sunday leaders suggested the increase in carjackings is linked to lenient punishment for the crimes.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff