Car theft and hijackings are sadly commonplace in South Africa. The National Crime Statistics indicate that a total of 16 717 cars were stolen from April 2016 to March 2017, an approximate 14% increase from the previous 12 months. Hijackings are also up by about the same.
Understanding vehicle theft patterns and acting accordingly may help potential victims to avoid becoming future statistics.
This is what you need to know:
• Car theft increases over weekends as more vehicles are left stationary.
• January and November are peak periods for car theft so take extra care during these months.
• Understand your risk – Gauteng and KZN have the highest incidents of car theft.
• Incidents of theft from cars and hijackings are unusually high in the Eastern Cape but car theft is relatively low.
• Motorists need to be more aware of their surroundings. They should consider investing in defensive driver training to acquire the necessary knowledge required in the event of a hijacking or car theft situation.
Tips to avoid being hijacked:
• Maintain your car regularly so that it is always in good working order.
• Plan your route and share it with those closest to you but change routes regularly.
• Drive with windows closed and doors locked.
• Make a habit of checking the rear-view mirror to see if you’re being followed
• If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your closest police station
• Keep valuables out of sight
• When approaching a red traffic light, approach slowly so that you get there when it turns green.
• When pulling up, allow enough space between you to make an emergency escape if necessary.
• Keep a list of emergency contact details on speed dial and in the car
Never put up a fight if you are hijacked. Your life is worth much more than your vehicle.