Be careful of post-lockdown hijackings

Like the rest of the world, crime rates decreased considerably in South Africa recently. The lockdown created struggles for many South Africans, even criminals.

Without open businesses or people on the roads, crime becomes a bit more difficult. This, however, also means that once normal activities resume, crime is likely to spike, maybe even worse than before, to make up for the 35-day lockdown.

Don’t let your guard down

As such, now that you are on the road again, do not forget the hijack awareness skills you developed pre-lockdown and continue to be aware of potential hijackers.

READ | Sharing the road with emergency vehicles during the lockdown

“Remember the three areas where you are at most risk of being hijacked: your driveway, intersections and in shopping centre parking lots. Whenever you approach one of these, be sure to be on high alert and to not let your guard down,” notes Eugene Herbert, managing director of MasterDrive.

You can reduce your risk in the following ways:

  • Reverse your car: whether into your driveway or a parking spot this allows you to quickly escape in a dangerous situation. Additionally, park against a wall or a similar barrier so that someone cannot sneak up behind you.
  • Park parallel to your house: be ready to leave suddenly while you wait for the gate to open.
  • Be vigilant: watch your gate until it is fully closed once you pull into your garden, familiarise yourself with the people normally at your usual intersections, if someone looks different to the usual beggars and hawkers, watch them carefully, do not let people distract you at traffic lights.
  • Anticipate traffic light changes: to avoid being stationary at the light.
  • Blind spot: criminals often stand in your blind spot, so do not forget to glance over your shoulder even when stationary.
  • Do not block yourself in: always have an escape route  
  • Be ready: have your keys in your hand before you reach your parked car and do not waste time when putting your shopping in the boot.
  • Assess the situation: if driving away will be difficult with high risk of something going wrong, surrendering your vehicle could be safer. It depends on the unique situation you face.