‘Spate’ of hijackings

2015-09-01 06:00

City Bowl residents have been warned to be vigilant after a number of hijacking incidents in the area in the past two months.

Nicola Jowell, chairperson of the Community Police Forum (CPF), says the hijackings tend to take place at night, when residents arrive home and are approached on the street in front of their homes.

In various incidents, the suspects have been armed and threatened the victims at gun point, she says. “Thankfully nobody has been hurt in the incidents. It is important to note that there are extremely low numbers of hijackings reported in the City Bowl area – it is thankfully a crime category that we just do not see a lot of. So when we have a spate as we are having at the moment, the community rightfully feels quite concerned,” she says.

Same suspects?Cape Town Central police spokesperson Captain Ezra October says there have been three cases reported in two months. He says these incidents are not linked.

The CPF, however, suspects the cases may be linked, simply because this type of crime is so rare. “To have a few incidents that are grouped together in a confined space of time makes one think it could be the same suspects. However, not all the suspect descriptions from the victims are the same. The exact location and the type of vehicle that has been stolen have also differed,” she says.

October warns residents to be on the look-out for suspicious cars and people. “Check your rearview mirror to ensure that you are not being followed. When exiting your car at home, ensure that there is an outside light switched on and have someone meet you at the gate or door. Never sit in your parked car without being fully conscious of your surroundings,” he says.

Safe at homeThe majority of hijackings happen outside a person’s home, Jowell says. “Very often our instincts tell us something is not right and we should not ignore these. Have your garage remote or house keys handy so that you are able to move with confidence and not linger around outside your property, especially late at night,” she says.

Residents should also report any suspicious activity to the police, their alarm company or the neighbourhood watch. They should also be prepared for any eventuality.

“Rather be prepared and hope it never happens to you or your family than be unprepared for it. But certainly I would advise on no sudden movements. Keep your hands visible to your carjackers as much as possible. If you have family in the vehicle with you make sure that the hijacker knows that and that you all exit the vehicle as quickly and calmly as possible. Staying calm and complying with the instructions of the hijacker is generally the best course of action.”

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