The latest crime statistics released by the South African Police Services (SAPS) showed an increase in hijackings across 6 provinces and an increase in residential robberies across 4 provinces in 2017/18, highlighting the need for continued vigilance when it comes to protecting yourself at home and on the road.
Hijackings increased in the North West (9%), Free State (0.4%), Mpumalanga (10.6%), Eastern Cape (4.6%), Northern Cape (27.6 %) and Limpopo (27.2%) whilst residential robberies showed an increase in the Eastern Cape (0.6%), Western Cape (8.9%), Northern Cape (12%) and Limpopo (26.2%)
“The crime stats are a reminder that looking after our personal safety, and that of our loved ones, should remain a top priority. Investing in further home and vehicle security, and keeping up to date to crime trends can help you avoid becoming a victim of these often opportunistic crimes,” says Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Dialdirect.
Knowledge is power, so keep the information below in mind and share it with everyone you know to help keep yourself, your family and your fellow citizens safe:
Dialdirect’s tips to avoid becoming a victim of a hijacking:
- Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for anything suspicious.
- Remain vigilant while filling up with fuel, especially at night.
- If you’re unsure if the vehicle trying to pull you over is an official police vehicle, remain calm, switch on your hazard lights and drive to the nearest police station.
- Be vigilant when arriving home and ensure that there is sufficient lighting at the entrance to your property. If you suspect you’ve been followed, make a few false turns and drive to the nearest police station.
- Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target. Inform someone at your destination about your estimated time of arrival.
- Limit distractions, such as checking or talking on your cellphone, when walking to or from your car. Avoid distractions while driving.
- Avoid driving with windows open, keep the doors locked and lock valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.
- Slow down in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach a traffic light, especially late at night – this prevents you coming to a complete stop and reduces your risk of becoming a target.
- Always park in a safe, well-lit area.
- Check the back seat before getting into the car, even if you left it locked.
- Download Dialdirect Namola, an emergency app that helps you get help fast.
Some practical ways to avoid becoming a victim of a home robbery:
- Instal an electric fence on the perimeter of your property and an alarm system with sensors to warn you.
- Draw the curtains at night to avoid perpetrators monitoring your movement.
- Use access gates that don’t require you getting out of your car to open them, as this makes you an easy target for criminals. Also, be sure to look out for any suspicious vehicles or individuals when entering your property.
- When possible, mix up your daily routine to make it less predictable for criminals to know when you’ll be home.
- Don’t tempt criminals by leaving things like lawnmowers and vehicles outside for extended periods of time.
- Cut away tree branches and remove objects like garden tools that could be used as leverage for getting into the house.
- Notify your security company when you won’t be at home for extended periods of time.
“Taking the necessary action to prevent becoming a victim of a hijacking or home robbery is critical but so is having the right cover should the worst happen. Make sure that your vehicle and home contents are properly insured for that much needed additional peace of mind,” concludes Tshifularo.