According to national police and vehicle tracking statistics, hijackings in South Africa are on the decline. While this is promising news, the crime has not been completely eliminated. Bakkies, entry-level sedans, luxury vehicles and 4Χ4s are statistically high risk vehicles. Thankfully there are a number of simple steps that you can take to reduce the risk of becoming a hijacking statistic.
Being safe in your vehicle is often as easy as using a little common sense. Statistically more than half of all hijackings occur outside of residential addresses. For this reason it is imperative that you are aware of your surroundings, and take note of suspicious vehicles or individuals when travelling to and from residential areas. Security around homes can be dramatically improved simply by ensuring that entrances are well lit at all times and dont provide any cover for potential hijackers to hide in. Installing an electric gate with an intercom buzzer that is easily reached from the car ensures that you and guests will be able to enter and exit the property quickly, without leaving your vehicles.
Being alert and keeping an eye on your surroundings is key to ensuring your safety on South African roads. By simply checking your mirrors using the K-53 driving method, you will be able to tell if a suspicious vehicle has been following you for a while. If you think you have been followed, do not pull straight into the driveway, rather go around the block once, if the vehicle is still behind you drive to the nearest police station.
Late at night, it is also a good idea to have a look around for any suspicious looking individuals loitering near robots or stop streets, if you feel unsafe or threatened skip the robot. Skipping robots does not come without its own set of risks, and should not be carried out unless you feel threatened and there is no oncoming traffic. Under no circumstances should you drive straight through a red light without checking for oncoming traffic - the results can be a lot worse than a hijacking.
Hijackers have developed a number of unconventional methods to get people out of their vehicles. This should always be considered if an unusual incident occurs on the road, or when entering and exiting a property. Some common tactics include: cable tying gates shut, throwing eggs or some other substance at vehicles to obscure driver, as well as staging minor accidents and leaving objects in the road. These methods are all designed to get car occupants to stop their vehicles and get out of the car. If you are ever in any doubt as to the reason a suspicious event has occurred, do not stop your vehicle. Rather call your security company or the police and let them evaluate the situation.
While the police and vehicle tracking companies are steadily reducing the hijacking rate in South Africa, the responsibility does not rest solely with them. You are the first line of defence in protecting yourself and your property. By using a little common sense and being aware of your situation and surroundings you will effectively reduce your chances of falling victim to a hijacking or other violent crime. Simply by protecting yourself and ensuring your safety you become an effective player in the fight against crime.