Carjacking up again

Carjacking up again

South Africa released crime statistics for the July to September 2021 period last week. While there were concerning statistics across the board, carjacking saw another increase of 3.5%. Additionally, there was also a rise in kidnapping. In most instances, these people were kidnapped when their vehicles were hijacked.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says as we enter the time of year where crime tends to increase, drivers need to increase their awareness levels as well. “The best way to protect yourself from a carjacking is to be aware of your surroundings and do whatever you can to prevent it from happening all together.”

Follow some important rules to ensure this as far as is possible:

  • Keep an eye on the car behind you, if they have followed you for a while, particularly if you coming home from shopping centres or places like the airport, do not turn into your driveway. Rather drive to a place of safety such as a petrol station and get assistance there.
  • Most armed response companies offer services where they see you into your house when you arrive home, especially at night. Make use of these whenever necessary.
  • Do not drive straight into your driveway but rather wait for the gates to open while parallel to your driveway.
  • At intersections do not look at your phone and be aware of the people there that could pose a threat to you.
  • At shopping malls reverse park into a space, preferably against a wall, to prevent someone catching you unaware from behind and to allow you to exit the parking quickly.
  • If you feel uncomfortable with the presence of someone in the parking lot, ask a security guard to walk you to your car.
  • Ultimately, rather be safe than sorry: do an extra circle around the block or ask someone for assistance rather than regret it.

While it is essential to be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself as far as possible, it is also important to understand it is not always be preventable. “For this, drivers are recommended to learn what they should do to increase their chances to safely remove themselves from that situation. While MasterDrive cannot advise drivers what to do in a kidnapping, there are certain precautions that can help should the worst happen.

“This includes making sure that your loved ones always know where you are and what time to expect you home. Install apps on your phone that friends and family can use to track your location should you not arrive on time. Investigate high risk vehicles and areas. This is not to say you shouldn’t drive in those areas or with those cars, knowledge of this can help you make the best decisions for your safety.”

This traumatising and often violent crime is not something any motorist should experience. “Consequently, do whatever necessary to prevent it. The reality, however, is it sometimes can be unavoidable. In this instance, be aware of the best ways to react,” says Herbert.

Look out for our part two where we speak to an expert on what to do should a carjacking become a kidnapping.

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