Accounts of violent hijackings from across the nation have been flooding news headlines over the past month, with terrifying incidents reported in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and in our very own backyard, Durban. Many of these reports concern the brazen manner in which these often heavily armed gangs are targeting their victims. Although you should practice caution at all times while out driving, we’ve outlined the top three hijacking hotspots according to most recent reports, and how to counteract this threat.
Often top of the list of hijacking hotspots, driveways are the prime spot for carjackers to pounce on unsuspecting residents leaving or returning home. It would appear that the “stay-at-home” mandate has only served to perpetuate this tactic, by making residents’ movements more predictable. In an incident that occurred last week Thursday, a woman was ambushed by two hijackers while still parked inside her property in the Ashley, Pinetown area.
*Safety Tips: When arriving home never place yourself in a position in which another vehicle can trap you by parking you in. Rather pull up alongside your property, open the gate fully, and then turn into your driveway. Once inside, close the gate behind you immediately before driving further into your driveway. Your home environment can lull you into a false sense of security when it comes to hijackings.
Practice the same level of care leaving home that you would when arriving home. Don’t linger in the driveway, remain vigilant, and reduce the chances of criminals breaking into the property by improving your security measure with electric fencing and an anti-gate-crashing kit.
2. Outside Schools
When you are dropping the kids off or fetching them from school you are most likely preoccupied and not fully aware of your surroundings. In a recent incident in Northdene, a mother was fortunately left unharmed after falling victim to a hijacking that occurred outside of a school, whilst arriving to collect her children in the afternoon.
*Safety Tip: Do not assume that you are safe in a public scenario. With desperation criminals have become increasingly brazen, taking any opportunity they can to target vulnerable motorists. Do not linger when dropping or fetching your children from school, move swiftly and with purpose, remaining vigilant at all times.
3. Petrol Stations
Another popular spot for hijackings, petrol stations make unsuspecting motorists an easy target. The CCTV footage below shows a hijacking incident that occurred at a petrol station just last week and proves just how quickly criminals can operate. By remaining calm and obeying the hijackers instructions, this victim was able to avoid a violent confrontation and was fortunate to escape without being injured.
*Safety Tip: Motorists are generally at their most vulnerable when fueling up, which means that this is no time to let your guard down. Avoid sitting on your phone and pay careful attention to the behaviour of not only other drivers around you, but the pedestrians as well.
Remember, although these are the hijacking hotspots, criminals will always be on the look out for any opportunity to target you. Remaining vigilant at all times and stay safe by staying informed on our latest vehicle crime safety tips.
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