The crime rate in South Africa is at an all time high with a big increase in aggravated robbery seen over the last two years. Hijackings in South Africa are a big contributor to this. Virtual Police crime statistics note that since the carjacking crime reprieve between 2010 – 2011, hijackings are once again on the rise, almost reaching the highs we saw in 2008. Causes of crime in South Africa and the increase in hijackings specifically, is said to be directly related to the increase in unemployment, increase in willing buyers for stolen or hijacked cars and a lucrative cross border market.
Violence in South Africa is unfortunately something we live with everyday and hijackings are one of those crimes in South Africa that home burglar proofing and increased home security products such as locks and latches, have no effect on. According to the South African Police Services, hijackings rose by a whopping 14.2% in 2014/15, which is little wonder why we feel so vulnerable. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to specifically increase safety at home when coming and going. Here are some highjack safety tips to help you prevent becoming a crime statistic.
1: Avoid peak hijacking times if you can.
A large majority of carjackings are said to occur either between 5:30-7:30 am or 17:00-21:00, with Friday being the busiest day for carjacking reports. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be vigilant at all times to avoid opportunistic theft, but varying your travel times can be a big deterrent.
2: There is no such thing as being overly cautious.
Given crime stats in SA, when it comes to personal and family safety there is no such thing as being overly cautious – especially with aggravated robbery such as hijackings. When driving, always check rearview mirrors to ensure you’re not being followed, be vigilant when entering or exiting your car, avoid sitting in stationary cars longer than is absolutely necessary and always be on the lookout for any suspicious people or cars.
3: Be less of a target with DIY home security
You are particularly vulnerable to hijackings when arriving or leaving your home. To reduce the risk, make sure your driveways are free from debris.Cut back any bushes or shrubs and eliminate anything that could hinder your view or allow attackers to hide and surprise you.
4: Know your environment
Almost every security and policing site will tell you that knowing your environment is one of the best ways to take precautions against this kind of South African Violent crime. This is because if you know who belongs in the neighbourhood and who doesn’t, if you know your neighbours and the area around your home like the back of your hand, you will be able to spot anyone or anything suspicious quickly enough to push your panic button or drive away.
5: Take extra precautions no matter what
Life is busy… We are always rushing to the next meeting, to the shops or to pick the kids up from school, but when it comes to violent crime in SA, no precaution should be overlooked no matter how busy you are. So help protect yourself and your family against becoming a hijacking crime statistic by following these simple precautions:
- Before driving off, ensure all car doors and windows are locked
- Try to use alternative routes and switch departure and arrival times.
- Give yourself space to flee by stopping 5 meters behind the car in front of you when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.
- Look out for fake car ram accidents from behind. In these situations, do not get out of the car, instead drive to the nearest police station.
- Watch your rearview mirror at all times and pay particular attention to cars driving without their headlights on.
Crime in South Africa is high, and there is no denying that hijackings are one of the worst violent crimes in SA. We hope these safety tips help make you more secure. Look out for our upcoming articles on what to do if you find yourself a victim of a hijacking. Until then, stay safe and vigilant.