Crime statistics remind us that we cannot be careful enough. Police say that the better prepared, the greater the possibility of the victim surviving an attack with limited physical injury.
Between March 2007 and April 2008, there were 14201 car hijackings in South Africa in total. Of these 7466 were in Gauteng and 3889 in KwaZulu Natal. During the same period there were 1245 truck hijackings.
The SAPD gives the following advice:
- Always make sure that your car is in a good condition. You don’t want to get stranded in an abandoned area – and you may have to get away fast from a dangerous situation
- On approaching your parked car, look around for suspicious-looking people and, if you see any, go back to the shopping mall, building, etc. and find someone to walk with you to the car. If the people are still hanging around, call the police or security staff
- Take out your car keys before reaching the car. Lock the doors immediately on getting into your car and keep the doors locked while driving. Also, don’t open the windows more than 5 cm
- On nearing a stop street or red robot, look around for any suspicious persons and be alert. Don’t stop so close to the car in front of you that you cannot pull away if necessary
- Hijackers seldom work alone. Be careful of being distracted by one person while the other approaches you from the other side
- Don’t leave your handbag, cell phone or other valuables on car seats
- On reaching your destination, first look around and, if something seems suspicious, don’t get out of the car. Drive on to a friend’s house or shopping centre and phone the police from there.
- Make your driveway as safe as possible. Don’t plant shrubs that obscure the view and add a light.
When you do get hijacked
Hijackings don’t only happen to other people, so it’s best to be prepared:
- Stay calm and keep your hands still
- So as not to endanger your or others’ lives, don’t be aggressive and don’t try to run away or attack the hijacker
- Don’t look the hijacker in the eye; he may see this as a threat
- Don’t get involved in any argument with the hijacker; just hand over the keys
- After the hijackers have driven off, try to remain calm. Take note of anything that might help the police, for example the hijackers’ build, clothing, facial features, language used or anything else that may help. Phone 10111 and the police. Phone a friend or family member to come and assist you.