Reduce risk of hijacking

2017-12-06 06:02

The reality of most hijackings happening in driveways has become a concern and police warns everyone to avoid becoming a victim.

Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors Aon South Africa, highlights how everyone should stay alert especially during the holiday which normally sees an surge in vehicle theft and hijackings.

Barrett says that one’s ultimate and only objective is to walk away from a hijacking incident physically unscathed, with loved ones. The vehicle tracking security company and authorities can be alerted once the driver is out of harm’s way.

“The vehicle is of no consequence and can be replaced, lives can however not,” warns Barret.

Aon provides the following tips to help reduce your risk:

  • Be observant of your surroundings and cognisant of anything or anyone who looks out of place. If you have any doubts, call your armed response company for assistance and do not be afraid to ask them to check out any suspicious individuals or vehicles lurking about.
  • Be aware of vehicles that remain in your rear view mirror. Many criminals follow their victims home from public places such as a shopping centre, bank or airport. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or a busy public area, but do not stop at home.
  • You are most at risk when entering or leaving your property. Turn down the volume on the radio well in advance, get off the phone and be alert. If anything seems untoward when approaching your home, contact your security company for an escort service in and out of your property.
  • Never pull into your driveway while you wait for your gate to open – have your gate remote handy and stay on the road while the gate opens, and immediately close it after entering.
  • Do not leave your keys in your vehicle while opening a manual gate and if possible, get someone at home to be ready to open the gate for you when you arrive. Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings.
  • Keep driveways clear of shrubs, plants and bins that could provide a hiding place for criminals. Make sure the area is well lit so there is no place to hide in shadows or dark corners. Alarm bells should be ringing when your pets do not greet you at the gate upon your arrival.
  • If you ever feel uneasy or unsure when approaching your home, drive past your driveway and go to your nearest police station or a safe place and call your security company to check out the area.
  • Most suburbs and complexes have WhatsApp groups, radios and other community platforms in place. It is a good idea to join these groups and to be aware of what is going on in your neighbourhood. Vigilance and community support are potent antidotes to criminals who will not stick around if they know they have been spotted.
  • If you are confronted by an armed criminal, follow their directions, stay calm, do not look at them and do not try to hide or conceal any items. Remember they are likely to be on edge and stressed, so do not provide any reason for further provocation. Remember that your personal safety trumps all material possessions which can be replaced.
  • Do not try and activate a panic button while you are in a hijacking situation as this could anger a hijacker, who is more than likely already on edge.
  • Be observant, should you fall victim to a hijacking situation. The smaller details are essential, such as the direction that they came from; the hijacker’s build, gender, body movement, clothing, distinctive marking and any conversation that may have taken place.

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