SAFETY TIPS: Hijackings

01/12/2022 | By Admin

In South Africa a car is stolen every 22 minutes. According to the crime stats, from 1 July 2022 to 20 September 2022, there were 6 149 hijackings.

Recently hijackers have been using a new modus operandi: they kidnap the owner of a vehicle for a few hours until they have disabled the tracking device, and in some cases even empty out the victim’s bank accounts.

The crime stats also showed that over the three-month period there was a 24% increase in hijackings as compared to the same period in 2021.With the festive season upon us this number is likely to increase.

More people are prone to drop their guard as they enjoy the festivities but getting lost in the moment risks falling prey to hijackers. Here are a few hijacking prevention tips for the festive season:

  • Be alert at all times while driving.
  • When stopping at traffic lights or stop signs, ensure that there is enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to be able to get away.
  • Try to not keep your window open when stuck in traffic.
  • Sitting in a vehicle while it is parked on the pavement increases your chances of getting hijacked. Be cautious.
  • If you feel that a car might be following you, rather change routes and drive to your nearest police station.
  • Most hijackings occur around your home so always be extra cautious when approaching your place of residence.
  • If you have an electric gate, wait for it to open while you are still in the road before pulling into your driveway – this makes it difficult for would-be hijackers to box you in and enables you to pull away should the need arise.
  • If you are opening a manual gate, leave the keys in the ignition and the engine running while doing so unless there are children in the car, in which case turn off the ignition and keep the keys with you. The keys can be used as a negotiating tool to get the children out of a hijacked vehicle to safety.
  • When stopped by law enforcement, do so immediately.
  • If you are stopped by a law enforcement vehicle but you are sceptical about their legitimacy, slow down and indicate to the driver that you acknowledge him, and drive to the closest police station.

Should you or a loved one get hijacked remember to:

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not make direct eye contact.
  • Do everything the perpetrators tell you to do.
  • Do not resist, threaten, or provoke the hijackers.

BLSA National Project Manager Roelof Viljoen shares some hijacking prevention tips for the festive season: