How to manage hijacking risks
ACCORDING to the latest SAPS crime stats released, car hijacking has increased by 14.5% across the country with Gauteng (+16.9%), Kwa-Zulu Natal (+21.5%) and Mpumalanga (+28.8%) provinces recording the highest increases.
Statistics tell the story of 16 717 cars that were hijacked between April 2016 to March 2017, equating to an average of 46 vehicles hijacked every day in South Africa.
“The key in mitigating crime risk is to be vigilant, understand how and when such crimes are most likely to happen and to take pro-active and preventative measures to mitigate them,” says Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.
“Most hijackings happen in the driveway of its victims so it is absolutely vital to stay alert, especially as we head into the festive season, which normally sees an uptick in vehicle theft and hijackings.”
AON PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING TIPS TO HELP YOU REDUCE YOUR RISK:
• Be observant of your surroundings and cognisant of anything or anyone who looks out of place. If you have any doubts, call your armed response company for assistance and don’t be afraid to ask them to check out any suspicious individuals or vehicles lurking about.
• Be aware of vehicles that remain in your rear-view mirror. Many criminals follow their victims home from public places such as a shopping centre, bank or airport.
• You are most at risk when entering or leaving your property. Turn down the volume on the radio well in advance, get off the phone and be alert.
• Never pull into your driveway while you wait for your gate to open – have your gate remote handy and stay on the road while the gate opens, and immediately close it after entering.
• Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle while opening a manual gate and if possible, get someone at home to be ready to open the gate for you when you arrive. Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings.
• Keep driveways clear of shrubs, plants and bins that could provide a hiding place for criminals. Make sure the area is well lit so there is no place to hide in shadows or dark corners.
• If you ever feel uneasy or unsure when approaching your home, drive past your driveway and go to your nearest police station or a safe place and call your security company to check out the area.
• Most suburbs and complexes have WhatsApp groups, radios and other community platforms in place. It is a good idea to join these groups and to be aware of what is going on in your neighbourhood.
• If you are confronted by an armed criminal, follow their directions, stay calm, don’t look at them and don’t try to hide or conceal any items. Remember they are likely to be on edge and stressed, so don’t provide any reason for further provocation.
• Do not try and activate a panic button while you are in a hijacking situation as this could anger a hijacker, who is more than likely already on edge.
• Be observant, should you fall victim to a hijacking situation. The smaller details are essential such as the direction that they came from; the hijacker’s build, gender, body movement, clothing, distinctive marking and any conversation that may have taken place.
“Your ultimate and only objective is to walk away from a hijacking incident physically unscathed, with your loved ones.
“The vehicle is of no consequence and can be replaced, lives can however not. Alert your vehicle tracking company, security company and authorities once you are out of harm’s way,” he says.
An average of 46
vehicles are hijacked every day in SA