National 21.9.2016 01:39 pm

14 tips to avoid becoming a hijacking statistic

Footage of a hijacking that took place last year. Picture: North Eastern Tribune.

Footage of a hijacking that took place last year. Picture: North Eastern Tribune.

With the increase in hijacking statistics, Dial Direct has provided 14 tips to help drivers stay vigilant and safe.

The statistics recently released by police demonstrate that car hijackings have increased by 14.3% since last year, and by 55% over the past four years.

Dial Direct, which provides a direct insurance service, also confirmed the increase, and its spokesperson Bianca de Beer said: “Our claims statistics note a similar upward trend in hijackings. Our statistics mirror those of the SAPS and show that the majority of hijackings take place in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and then the Western Cape.”

ALSO READ: CCTV footage proving effective against JHB CBD crime

Therefore, Dial Direct offered the following practical tips to avoid becoming a hijacking statistic:

  1. Plan your route: Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target. Inform the person at your destination about your estimated time of arrival.
  2. Stay alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for anything suspicious.
  3. Be focused: Limit distractions, such as checking or talking on your cellphone, when walking to or from your car.
  4. Lock up: Avoid driving with windows open, keep the doors locked and lock valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.
  5. Mix things up: Vary the routes you take to make it less predictable for criminals.
  6. Check the tail: If you suspect you are being followed, make a couple of false turns. If someone is still following you, drive to the nearest police station.
  7. Allow space: Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to avoid being boxed in.
  8. Savvy stopping: Slowdown in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach a traffic light, especially late at night – this avoids you coming to a complete stop and reduces your risk of becoming a target.
  9. Pick your parking spot: Always park in a safe, well-lit area.
  10. Use panic buttons: If you sense you are in danger, use the panic button on your tracking device if it has one.
  11. Go electric: Many hijackings happen just as you are entering or leaving your home. Having a well-lit, shrub-free driveway and an electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) can help you get in and out safely. Use the remote to close the gate behind you, rather than waiting for the self-timer. This limits a criminal’s window of opportunity.
  12. Know your neighbour: Knowing your neighbours and the cars they drive well help you to better identify suspicious individuals and vehicles.
  13. Keep an SOS phone: Keep a spare, small and cheap phone loaded with airtime and emergency contacts (including your insurer) handy so that you can call for help even if your car and valuables are stolen.,
  14. Keep your car in tiptop shape: A broken down car makes you a target for would-be hijackers, who will settle for a raid of your valuables.

Caxton News Service

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