Chattanooga Police have reported seeing an uptick in auto thefts across the city this year. 

They’re warning people not to leave cars running with keys inside.

Officers say these crimes will likely continue to rise during the summer months. 

But what if a thief stole your car and forced you in it?

It’s a scenario no one wants to think about, however, it recently happened to an Alabama nursing student who made national headlines after being forced at gunpoint into the trunk of a car. She knew where to find the latch inside and was able to pop open the trunk to get away from the man who kidnapped her.

"I think she did an excellent job of staying calm, thinking through the situation and realizing that she had to get out. She did not want to go wherever the kidnapper was trying to take her and the best thing to do was to get out,” Captain Jerri Sutton with the Chattanooga Police Department told Channel 3.

Capt. Sutton says you should do everything you can to avoid being forced in the trunk. 

In a demonstration, she showed Channel 3 some self-defense techniques to avoid it.

Capt. Sutton says people are easily distracted loading shopping bags or groceries into the trunk of their cars and that’s a perfect time for an attacker to catch a victim off guard.

If you are trapped in a trunk, newer model cars should have a latch in the trunk. 

If you’re in an older car, Capt. Sutton says you should pull away the lining and try kicking out the light. Stick your hand out if possible. Do anything you can to bring attention to the car.

“If you are abducted or confronted in a populated area, draw attention to yourself. Attention is the one thing that an abductor does not want. He does not want that attention,” Capt. Sutton told Channel 3.

Experts say you should become familiar with your vehicle, find the latch in your trunk and have a plan in case you need it.