'I felt sorry for the victims but I had a job to do' - Former hijackers reveal all, here's how you can protect yourself in SA

<i>Image: YouTube</i>
<i>Image: YouTube</i>

Vehicle crime is a grim reality on South Africa's roads where one vehicle is hijacked every 32 minutes, according to 2017 SAPS Crime Stats. 

Criminals have become far more brazen than in the past and the lives of innocent people are disregarded for a few thousand rand, reports vehicle tracking specialists Pro-Active South Africa.

What drives people to hijack cars in SA? Why is this vehicle crime so difficult to put an end to locally?

Pro-Active SA managing director Ryno Schutte interviewed two former hijackers, both of whom have served time in jail. 

WATCH - CCTV footage captures the incredible moment this quick-thinking Mercedes driver gets away from armed hijackers in Joburg

Schutte told Wheels24 that the discussion with the two ex-convicts sheds valuable light on hijackings in South Africa: "One needs to take into consideration that the information mentioned cannot be generalised, but there are huge similarities on the way criminal organisations operate.

"To get a better understanding on the backgrounds of the two ex-convicts it became clear during our discussion that there is not just one path that a 'hijacker' follows. 

"Both ex-cons came from two different walks of life but they both confirmed some sketchy yet valuable insight into hijackings and organised crime. It was confirmed that the suspects received around R5000 - R7000 for a German manufactured vehicle."

Have you witnessed or been the victim of a hijacking? Email us

Read the interview below:



Road safety advice: Info by Pro-Active SA

Before Leaving your location:

1. Take a stroll around your vehicle to confirm that there is no one lurking around or in  your vehicle before getting into your vehicle.
2. If your child will be driving with you, let them sit behind the driver of the vehicle. This will ensure that in the event of an incident that the driver can remove and shield the child with their backs towards the hijackers / suspects.
3. Ensure your number plates are both on the vehicle and no papers are stuck to the rear or front windows of your vehicle. This is a trend used by suspects to lure you into stopping while your vehicle is running to either retrieve the number plate or remove the papers.
4. Place all valuable items out of sight either under the seat or in the boot of your vehicle. Smash and grabs are also on the increase.
5. Ensure your windows and doors are closed and locked before leaving.
6. Plan your route before departure.

While driving:

1. Stay off your phone. Not only are you ar risk for being involved in a car crash, your are also placing your fellow drivers and loved ones at risk. Not to mention it is illegal. Put your phone on silent and out of reach while driving.
2. Be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious behaviour to the SAPS and your local security service provider.
3. If your windscreen or tyre is damaged while driving, drive to a well lit area before stopping to inspect the damage.
4. Do not stop for anyone that might indicate they are in need of help in deserted or high risk areas. Contact Law Enforcement, the SAPS or security company to assist.
5. Take a different route daily when leaving home or returning home. Criminals pounce on the fact that we are following the same routine and routes.
6. Though there is a misconception that only certain makes and models are being stolen or hijacked, if there is a need for a certain make or model vehicle in the vehicle crime market will any vehicle become a target.
7. Lower your music, eliminating distractions and be extra vigilant 1km from your destination, ensuring that you are not being followed.
8. Park parallel to your home opening the gate prior to  pulling into the driveway. Parking in your driveway while opening your gate might get you boxed in.

In the unfortunate event of a hijacking:

1. At no given time resist the attacker or suspects.
2. Keep your hands visible at all times as the suspects are as nervous as you are.
3. Be submissive and listen to the suspects’ instructions.
4. Do not resist once you have exited the vehicle.
5. Place your child that is in a baby seat behind you to remove the child with ease. Indicate to the suspect that you have a child in the backseat and remove the child by shielding him / her as much as possible.
6. Remain calm and try to identify any useful information about the hijackers without staring at them.
- Take note of the Language the suspects speak
- Count the number of voices.
- Listen to the information the suspects share amongst themselves and possibly via cellphone.
- Estimate the height of the suspects by comparing it to your own height.
- Identify any clothing, markings and shoes of the suspects. Some suspects change their clothes but not their shoes.
7. Create time and space as quickly as possible between yourself and the threat.

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