In the last week (20 to 27 June) there has been a definite increase in the number of hijackings and other crime in the South of Johannesburg. Hijackings are dominating. We have seen 14 hijackings and one attempted hijacking in total. The areas targeted are Regents Park(2), Rosettenville Extension (2), The Hill (1), Rosettenville (2), South hills(3),Bella Vista(1), City Deep(1), LA Rochelle(1),Turfontein(1) and Rewlatch(1). Most incidents are reportedly occurring during the day.
Michelle Pelser, Fidelity ADT Branch Manager for Johannesburg South says much of the crime seems opportunistic. “Criminals are on the lookout for easy opportunities to take advantage of, the key is to remain alert and vigilant at all times. We have also seen several other crimes ranging from street robberies, water meter theft, business and house robberies in the area. We urge all community members to remain vigilant and report all crimes No crime is too small to be ignored.”
Here are some helpful hijack prevention tips from Fidelity ADT and the National Hijack Prevention Academy:
- Remember that 68% of all hijackings occur close to home so be especially vigilant when pulling out of your driveway or coming home.
- If you have an electric gate, do not pull into your driveway before opening the gate. This can allow hijackers to box you in. Rather open your gate while your car is still in the road to allow a quick getaway if necessary
- If you suspect you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. By doing this, you force the vehicle behind you to pass and you can then get a better idea of their intentions
- If you need to stop in your driveway to manually open the gate, always leave the key in the ignition and the motor running unless you have a child in the car. If your child is in the car, take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool – the criminals want your car and you want your child
- Always make sure you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you when you stop in the traffic. This gives you enough room to maneuver and escape if you have to, for whatever reason
- Don’t fall for the “tap tap” trap where a driver taps the back of your car in traffic. They often use female drivers as decoys here. Never get out of your car on the scene to assess the damage but rather drive to a busy location Signal to the other driver to follow you. If it is not legitimate, they will seldom follow you
- If you stay in a secure complex with security guards, do not be fooled into thinking you are safe. You can easily be followed into your complex so always remain vigilant. Research shows that most people relax the closer they get to home and this is often when they are most vulnerable
What to do if you are hijacked
- The first and golden rule: Do not antagonise the hijackers. You need to show them you are not a threat
- Lift your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender
- Use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral
- Be cautious not to use your right arm to lean across your body and undo your seatbelt or unlock the door. This could be construed as you reaching for a gun
- Do not switch off your car
- Get out slowly and try and angle your body sideways so you are not facing a firearm head-on. Also remember to protect your head with your arms and to lift your shoulders to protect your neck area
- Do not turn your back on the hijackers – your organs are most exposed from the back
- Avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers but still try to take in what they are wearing, the sound of their voices, etc.
Pelser says finally once the hijackers have left you need to call the SAPS on 08600 10111, thereafter any emergency numbers on a cellphone by dialing 112 on any network or 147 on Vodacom lines.
“A hijacking can be a terrifying and traumatic experience. Do not be afraid to speak to a friend or counsellor after the experience. The easiest way to deal with the event is to have someone to speak to. “We are living in a tough economy and crime is definitely on the increase. Fidelity ADT has increased visibility in the area but we are urging residents to be vigilant,” concludes Pelser.