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Basic Hijacking Safety Tips

News
16 August 2020
Knowing how to react during a hijacking and, ideally, avoiding a hijacking situation is vital as we go about our daily routine.
hijacking

It’s a crime everyone knows, either from personal experience or reading and hearing about it. Hijackings are practically part of our daily existence, with the threat of falling victim to hijackers constantly in the back of our minds.

Knowing how to react during a hijacking and, ideally, avoiding a hijacking situation is vital as we go about our daily routine. The National Hijack Prevention Academy has put together an extensive list of measures to help avoid hijacking situations, detailing how to react should you find yourself in this traumatic situation.

 

HIJACKERS’ MODUS OPERANDI

While each hijacking incident is unique, there are a few things the majority of hijackings have in common:

  • Most hijackings take place in residential areas, in driveways and in suburbs with several escape routes.
  • A number of incidents also take place at intersections and during peak-hour traffic when vehicles are stationary or moving slowly.
  • Drivers who pull over on the side of the road due to mechanical problems or to check their phone are also often targeted.
  • In some instances, hijackers use a vehicle to force their target off the road.
  • Instances of fake police or traffic officers ordering unsuspecting drivers to pull over are also on the increase in some areas.

 

AVOIDING HIJACKING SITUATIONS

WHEN APPROACHING AN ENTRANCE

  • Always be alert while heading to your home or office, especially 2km from your final destination.
  • Look out for any vehicles following you, or suspicious vehicles or individuals close to your home or workplace entrance. Rather keep driving if you feel unsafe and seek help.
  • When entering the premises, park as close to the gate as possible. This prevents perpetrators from easily gaining access to the property.
  • Place your car in reverse while waiting for the gate to close. This could save you a few crucial seconds in case you need to get away.
  • Check your driveway and street before entering the property. If you see any suspicious activity, continue driving.
  • Ensure driveways are well-lit and there aren’t any places for perpetrators to hide.
  • Know your neighbours so you can easily contact them in case of an emergency.
  • Be aware of any suspicious, unfamiliar vehicles parked in your suburb. Report them to your local security company or Community Policing Forum (CPF).
  • If your animals don’t come out to greet you, be alert as someone may have gained access to your property.
  • If you live with someone, let them know when you’ll be arriving and ask them to be on the lookout and, if safe, open the gate for you.
  • If you have to manually open the gate, keep the engine running, get out of the car, close the door and open the gate. If you have small children in the car, switch off the vehicle and take the keys with you. This gives you the opportunity to negotiate with the hijackers to first release the children. Older kids should get out of the car with you.

 

PARKING

  • Check your rear-view mirror for any followers.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when exiting the car.
  • Park in well-lit areas where you and your vehicle are visible to others.
  • If you’re waiting in your car, be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep doors locked.
  • When returning to your vehicle, check for any suspicious individuals near your car as you approach.
  • Unlock your car only when you're close and it’s safe to do so.
  • Check for any objects behind or underneath your vehicle as you approach.

 

WHILE DRIVING

  • Plan your journey and take note of local police stations along your route.
  • Keep your windows closed and doors locked whenever possible.
  • When in traffic, leave enough space between you and the car in front of you in case you need to get away.
  • Drive in the centre lane when possible to avoid pedestrians who could possibly approach your vehicle.
  • Never pick up strangers.
  • Change up your routine and routes to make it more difficult for hijackers to target you.
  • Carry your phone on you (where it's not clearly visible). Hijackers wont allow you to get your valuables.

 

DURING A HIJACKING

  • Its important to remain as calm as possible.
  • Follow the hijackers’ instructions meticulously and don’t try and negotiate (unless you have children in the car).
  • Move slowly and ensure your hands are visible at all times.
  • Hand over the keys and anything else the perpetrators ask for.
  • Don’t fight back or argue.
  • Get out of the car slowly and don’t try and retrieve any valuables.
  • Step away from the car and gain as much distance from your vehicle as possible.
  • Avoid making eye contact as this could be seen as threatening.
  • Once it's safe to do so, seek help from either a neighbour or a nearby business if you no longer have your phone with you.
  • Report the incident to the police as soon as possible.
  • Also report the incident to your local security company or CPF.

To read the full document click here.

Source: National Hijack Prevention Academy