Motorists warned as smash-and-grab incidents on the rise in Table View area

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Table View police urge motorists to be vigilant of smash-and-grab hot spots when driving.
Table View police urge motorists to be vigilant of smash-and-grab hot spots when driving.

Malibongwe Drive and Potsdam Road have been identified as the most notorious spots for smash-and-grabs in the Table View area after an increase was noted during the past four months.

The Table View police have issued a stern warning to the community to be extra vigilant when driving on the following roads or being stationary at an intersection, especially when entering the known smash-and-grab hot spots during the night.

Police say motorists are known for leaving valuables on the passenger seat or using cellphones whilst stationary.

Table View police spokesperson Capt Adriana Chandler says an increase in theft out of motor vehicles has been noted at the beachfront in Marine Drive, Table View, where valuables have been reported stolen from the vehicles.

TygerBurger reported on the very same issue last week after a surfer’s vehicle had been broken into.

“The public is urged to be vigilant when stationary at intersections, to lock their doors, keep their windows closed, and lock valuables in the boot of the vehicle before departing on their journey. Remove valuables from your vehicle when you park it in a public space, such as parking areas, beach fronts, and public roads near your home.”

Arrive Alive (now known as Safely Home) provides the following road safety and prevention tips:

What is smash-and-grab crime?

A smash-and-grab criminal turns a pleasant drive into a nightmare when they pounce on unsuspecting drivers.

The criminal act is usually characterised by smashing through some sort of barrier (e.g. vehicle window) while the car is stationary at traffic lights or stuck in slow-moving traffic and grabbing something of value (e.g. jackets, handbags, laptops, etc).

A smash-and-grab usually plays on the element of speed and surprise. The violent smashing of the window at the passenger side places the motorist in a few moments of silent paralysis – just enough to get hold of the valuables and flee the scene!

These car burglaries can be expensive, from the cost of repairs to the vehicle and windows to replacing your belongings. The victims will most likely be traumatised and feel victimised for quite some time.

What is targeted?

The thieves are usually after valuables which they can easily identify from outside the vehicle and sell as easily once removed from the possession of the motorists.

Items targeted include:

  • Purses, handbags and wallets;
  • Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks;
  • Shopping bags;
  • Cellphones, MP3 players and tablets;
  • Loose change and CDs and
  • Keys.

Methods used and modus operandi

Criminals will focus on those areas where they know traffic is often congested and where vehicles will remain stationary for a while.

These criminals also will often work in pairs where one will pose as a vendor, distracting the attention of the driver while the other party will perform the smash-and-grab from the passenger side.

Objects are sometimes placed on the road and motorists make the mistake of leaving their vehicles to remove these objects. This is when the vehicles are then easily targeted.

Technology such as cellular phones has also enabled these criminals to identify potential victims from a bridge or position of elevation and to relay this message to their partners in crime further along the road.

The person doing the smash-and-grab will most likely select the scene of the crime as an area where a fast getaway would be possible for him and any pursuit would be difficult.

  • Lock all your doors and close the windows when driving - never open vehicle windows or doors for strangers.
  • Avoid opening your windows or getting involved in discussions with street vendors or anyone handing out flyers.
  • Constantly be on the lookout for suspicious-looking characters.
  • Always be conscious of your surroundings and remain alert when coming to an intersection or stopping your vehicle.
  • Be wary of people standing at intersections – they may be innocent but perpetrators mix with these people while waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
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