As can be seen by videos doing the rounds on social media platforms, hijackings and robberies are becoming more prevalent in less traditional places and times.
This is according to Ron Knott-Craig, executive of operational services at Tracker South Africa, who notes that criminals are becoming brazen and pouncing on unsuspecting individuals wherever the opportunity presents itself – even in broad daylight and at locations that are perceived as safe and secure.
This includes outside business premises, housing estates and shopping complexes.
“These locations generally have security personnel stationed at the entrances, access control and an abundance of video cameras,” he said.
“Criminals are most likely to strike when you least expect it and you’ve dropped your guard.”
“It’s important that you are vigilant at all times and that you are aware of your surroundings and able to get away should the need arise.”
Below he outlined the following safety tips to keep in mind:
- Be aware – Don’t be an easy target. While driving, be vigilant about your surroundings. Also, be alert and on the lookout for suspicious persons or vehicles.
- Watch your tail – Pay close attention to ensure that you are not being followed. If you think you are being followed drive to a police station.
- Don’t be flashy – In some cases, hijackings occur not for the vehicle itself but for the valuables inside. Avoid driving with your valuables in plain sight.
- Be prepared – Have your access card or driver’s license ready to ensure that you can pass through the boom gate of an office park or housing estate as soon as possible. Also, don’t talk on your mobile phone while entering any premises as attackers are relying on you being distracted and vulnerable.
- Drive on – If something looks suspicious as you’re approaching an access-controlled area, rather drive off and come back later. Have a back-up plan in case of an emergency.
- Testing, testing – Regularly test your tracking device to make sure it’s working, including the assist button if your device has one.
- Keep calm – If you are hijacked, remember your life is worth more than your valuables, so keep calm, co-operate and try to get away as quickly as possible.