If you live in South Africa and are a motorist, you are aware of and take caution against a possible hijacking and other vehicle-related crime. It is in this light that Cartrack, known for its Stolen Vehicle Recovery technology, has issued an in-depth article about new vehicle-related crimes as well as provided insight into actions one can take to further prevent incidents.
“As leaders within the Stolen Vehicle Recovery industry we are privileged to updated statistics and latest techniques which, in turn, helps us to educate the general public with safety and preventative tips which could help them in the event of an unforeseen circumstance,” says Andre Ittmann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cartrack.
“Below we have summarised some of the latest findings surrounding vehicle-related crimes along with some basic tips on what to do”, says Ittmann.
More than 1,400 vehicles are hijacked each month in South Africa, according to the latest crime statistics by the South African Police Service’s (SAPS). Interestingly, the SAPS crime statistics, for April – December 2016, report an increase in so-called “trio crimes”; car-hijackings, house robberies and robberies at non-residential areas.
- Be sure to keep an eye on people at intersections (or unfamiliar cars in your neighbourhood)
- Never disregard someone because they are well dressed
- If you are approached by a hijacker keep your hands visible at all times
- Unlock your car only when you’re close by
- A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable – make sure you have had your car serviced regularly
- Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight
- If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area
- When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green
Remote jamming has become quite popular in South Africa. This simply means that, when you leave your vehicle or home and push the remote to activate the locking and alarm system, a criminal pushes a similar remote at the same time effectively blocking the signal of the locking remote. Whilst previously being boxed into a ‘shopping centre crime’, this crime is becoming popular in areas where one wouldn’t be as careful. Schools, hospitals, your front yard and other open spaces are hot areas.
- Be aware of the surroundings at all times and take note of suspicious persons or activity in and around the parking area
- Report suspicious activity to centre management or security
- Do not leave valuables in an unattended vehicle
- Be sure to check that the vehicle is indeed locked by testing the door and boot before walking away
In most instances, you would leave your car under the care of a car guard, only to return to find that your car was broken into and your valuables were stolen.
- Do not leave valuable items of value lying in full view on car seats
- Park your car in a secure parking lot where there are lots of other vehicles
- Lock your car when driving and when leaving it parked
- Install window safety film. Not only will it serve as protection against potential smash and grab attacks but if you use a tinted film, it makes it more difficult for would-be criminals to see into the vehicle – especially at night
Smash and Grabs
Smash and grabs are a common crime in South Africa, particularly in and around busy intersections of major metropolitan areas.
The crime is perpetrated at all times of the day.
Criminals often work in twos, with one distracting the driver, and the other smashing through a car’s window to grab valuables, such as purses, bags, mobile phones, laptops and other valuables.
- Be on the alert. Criminals tend to target those that are distracted
- When thieves can see valuables from outside the vehicle, you are definitely a target
- Always keep all doors locked
- You can keep one window open but only slightly. If your windows are struck by a spark plug it will provide some resilience
- When driving at night, try driving in the middle lane, as criminals tend to hide in the bushes/ grass next to the side lanes
- If you see any obstacles in the road such as rocks or tyres do not get out of your car to move them
- Some areas are notorious for smash-and-grab incidents. Be particularly careful whenever you see broken glass lying on the road
- You can fit your window with protective smash-and-grab film, which is usually tinted so that no one can see into the car, while also preventing the windows from shattering
“The most important thing to remember if you do become a victim to one of these crimes is that your life is more important than any other valuable possession. Rather focus on what you can do to prevent yourself and your loved ones from harm during this situation”, concluded Ittmann.
If your vehicle is fitted with a Cartrack tracking device, and is unfortunately stolen or hijacked, remember to contact the control room as soon as possible to assist you with the recovery of your vehicle. For more information on how you can fit your car with a tracking device, please visit www.cartrack.co.za
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