Over the last 3 months over 47% of driveway robberies have taken place in the Northern Suburbs prompting ADT to once again issue an alert out to homeowners in these areas.
“Randburg, Morningside, Houghton and Parkview have been particularly hard hit. We know that over 60% of all hijackings take place close to home so it vital homeowners know what to look out for in order to prevent falling prey to hijackers,” says Theunis Kotze, ADT General Manager Inland region.
Kotze said they were particularly concerned to see the increase in hijackings at secure complexes in these suburbs as well.
“Being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to respond if you find yourself in a hijacking situation is critical,” says Theunis Kotze, ADT general Manager Inland Region.
ADT urge homeowners to remember the following hints and tips:
- If you suspect you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. If you are being followed, you will force the vehicle behind you to pass and this could cause the criminals to lose interest.
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. Only then should you take the key with you as you open the gate. The key is a valuable negotiating tool – they want your car and you want your child. “Over the last 3 months we experienced a number of hijackings where homeowners got out of their cars to check a faulty gate and experienced an ‘opportunistic’ hijacking.”
- 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. Be alert when entering and exiting. The majority of vehicle hijackings happen at the complex gate. A normal gate will take 18 seconds to open which leaves drivers vulnerable. Always be aware of your surroundings when pulling into your complex.
- Always remain vigilant when you are returning from a shopping centre or school as follow homes are very common.
In the unfortunate event that you are hijacked, how do you give your car over in a non-threatening manner?
“The first and golden rule is to not antagonise the hijackers who are probably more scared than you are. You need to show them you are not a threat. Lift up 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. Hijackers are highly charged when they approach a vehicle and any unexpected movements or events could mean life or death for the driver or for other security personnel.”
“Do not turn off your car,” says Kotze, “and get out slowly. 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 avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers but try to take in what they are wearing, the sound of their voices, etc. Most importantly try to remain calm,” he concludes.