Hijacking has become an increasingly prevalent crime plaguing South Africans in recent years, as desperation has shown criminals where the dirty money really lies: stolen vehicles. As security features make it harder for offenders to steal parked cars, idling vehicles with passengers inside have become the fan favourite.
Wonder Bars provide a variety of home security solutions for the average homeowner looking to secure themselves and their families. However, crime does not stop once you hop into the safety bubble of your car, and we want to equip you with some helpful information to increase your hijacking awareness and remain safe when out and about.
Studies have shown that hijacking is generally low during the night and early hours of the morning, but picks up considerably from 06:00, when motorists are leaving home for work, and again around 17:00 whilst returning home.
When returning to their homes, motorists are often tired and frustrated, reducing their awareness and opening themselves up to potential threats. The recent increases in retrenchment and unemployment are powerful drivers of hijacking in South Africa, as desperate individuals have realised that well-established syndicates will pay fair prices for hijacked vehicles. Hijacking is a highly organised crime with seldom instances occurring from opportunity, and as such, we have some helpful tips to increase your hijacking awareness to combat this crime.
|There are some relatively simple habits that you can learn to help increase your hijacking awareness.
When driving, try to avoid completely stopping at intersections wherever possible. If possible, anticipate when traffic lights will change and approach slower to avoid having to halt the vehicle.
Never sit in your parked vehicle without being aware of your surroundings – a parked, turned off car with a passenger inside is a sitting duck for hijacking.
When you have to stop behind another vehicle, leave a few metres in front of your car to allow for an emergency escape if need be. Your hijacking awareness should also extend to others, by making sure any passengers you drop off are safely within their vehicle before leaving.
If you are on your way home from work or an event, there are some tips to stay more aware as you approach your home. A few kilometres from your home, stay focused on your route and your surroundings – be cautious of anyone following you or hanging around your area suspiciously.
Be aware around your property. New homeowners should get to know their neighbours, as they are supportive through acts of crime and often have information about your area that could be of use to you.
Pro tip if you have to leave the vehicle to open your gate: Take your car keys with you, especially if you have small children in the car. Your keys are your ‘negotiation tool’ in the event of a hijacking as the perpetrators want your vehicle and you want your children.
|South African law allows self-defence under reasonable, highly motivated circumstances. The requirements that must be met for it to be considered self-defence are:
– The attack is unlawful
– The attack is imminent or has commenced
– The attack must not have been completed at the time of retaliation (it is not self-defence one hour later)
– Defensive action is directed at the attacker
– Defensive action is appropriate to the circumstances, meaning the value of the property and the instrument involved in the attack are important to consider
South African courts test the lawfulness of self-defence by asking whether a ‘reasonable man’ would have reacted in the same way. In all cases where a person has been killed, the matter is fully investigated to determine if anyone was responsible for the death. This does not mean the defensive actor is being charged with murder, but rather it is being determined whether the defensive action is reasonable, and if so, the charges are discontinued.
If you have suffered a hijacking, report it to the nearest police station promptly. Give them your vehicle details including model, colour, vehicle identification and registration numbers, and any other details about your assailant you may have.
Try to observe your attacker without making direct eye contact, as this can be seen as a threat to the criminal. If you can safely do so, take note of the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose and any distinctive factors like scars and tattoos.
You can report criminal activity and emergencies to 10111 and can also report suspicious activities on the same number. Play your role in protecting yourself and your neighbours so that we can work towards a safer South Africa. Contact Wonder Bars today to chat about how we can help you secure your home and peace of mind.