- There are an array of unique opportunities for you to minimize the risks associated with hijacking in South Africa as well as prevent the likelihood of experiencing a hijacking
- Conceal a panic button in your vehicle clear from view in a position that you can easily reach for without antagonizing a hijacker
- Follow the latest South African crime statistics to learn more about specific locations and roads that are prone to hijacking and avoid them as often as possible
- Install and utilize additional apps, software, and technological tools that will give you a safety advantage over hijackers, such as sending WhatsApp live locations and placing automatic lighting solutions in your driveway
Hijacking in South Africa is not something we as citizens like to think about but it is certainly something we are all very aware of. Recent statistics show that hijackings in South Africa have reached a five-year high. Our families safety is of paramount importance whether we are at home or in our vehicles, and we must remain vigilant and responsive as we drive around the country if we are to protect our families from falling victim to hijacking. There are several measures that we can take to prevent hijacking as well as minimize the risks associated with a hijacking in the devastating event that we experience it, and we have compiled these essential hijacking safety tips into a comprehensive safety advantage guide to give you more peace of mind as you and your family adventure around our beautiful country.
1. Conceal a Panic Button in Your Vehicle
There is very little we can do to call for help once we have been approached by a hijacker if we are not equipped with advanced armed response technological tools, namely a panic button. Generally, it is advisable that you follow a hijacker’s orders as you want to avoid antagonizing the perpetrator. However, between the time it takes for them to arrive at your window and request you leave your vehicle, you can send an emergency alert out to the nearest security company through the use of this small and easily concealed armed response button. Within minutes a trusted security team will be at your location to provide assistance if you are still in the midst of the hijacking attempt. In the event that your vehicle has already been stolen, the security company will be able to follow the location of the panic button concealed in your vehicle and recover your automobile.
The success of this tip in minimizing the risk of hijacking is correlated to one’s ability to hide the panic button in strategic spots that are not immediately noticeable to the hijacker. We suggest the following placement options to help you more effectively trigger the button from a position that does not antagonize the perpetrator as well as keeps it hidden in the event that they steal your vehicle.
Behind Your Headrest
This is the best placement for your panic button as it will allow you to raise your hands in surrender when approached by a hijacker while giving you immediate access to your armed response trigger. Using double-sided velcro or a material-friendly adhesive, you can place your button at the back of your headrest and conceal it from view using headrest and car seat covers.
Within Your Door’s Side Cubby
Another place that is accessible and generally hidden from a perpetrators view is your door’s side cubby. Placing your panic button here will allow you to subtly reach for it if you feel threatened, unsafe, or wary of an attempted hijacking.
If you ever feel incredibly unsafe and do not wish to risk further harrowing incidents during a hijacking, then follow your gut instincts and the orders of the hijacker rather than attempting to operate your panic button.
2. Avoid Hijacking Hotspots as of the Latest Crime Statistics
Another extremely helpful tip to avoid hijacking is to steer clear of hijacking hotspots outlined in the latest South African crime statistics, such as specific districts and roads. According to recent statistics published by BusinessTech, the following areas are hijacking hotspots:
- Nyanga, Western Cape
- Loate, Gauteng
- Umlaze, KwaZulu-Natal
- Harare, Western Cape
- Tembisa, Gauteng
- Delft, Western Cape
The problem with this information is that it is too broad to give us a comprehensive idea of the specific places within these larger areas we need to avoid. Fortunately, Arrive Alive has compiled an extensive list of roads and locations within Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and Durban to avoid if you wish to minimize the likelihood of falling victim to hijacking.
3. Use Other Technology to Your Advantage
Technology is shaping the way we prioritise our safety and apps, software, and other devices are equipping us with a safety advantage over hijackers and other criminals within South Africa. We need to, in all areas of our life, leverage the benefits of these new technologies. The following examples of technological support, beyond an accurate and reliable armed response panic button, should become a habit that is implemented into your driving routine:
- Send a WhatsApp live location out to your close friends or family the minute you get into your vehicle so that someone knows where you are at all times
- Use your Google Maps whenever you are visiting a new destination regardless of whether you ‘know the area’ or not
- Install automatic lights in your driveway that are triggered as you roll up to your home so that you can see if anyone is hiding in or around your property
4. Additional Helpful Anti-Hijacking Tips to Keep in Mind
Besides using technology and statistics to your advantage, we have compiled a few more additional anti-hijacking tips to keep in mind whenever you and your family get into your vehicle:
- Check your rearview mirror the minute you get into your car and every so often while you are driving to assess whether or not you are being followed, being especially careful to check when you turn down quieter roads
- Do not turn into your driveway unless the road is completely clear of other cars both in front of you and behind you, and only enter your property once your gate is fully opened. Keep your doors closed and locked until your gate is fully closed before you get out of your vehicle
- When visiting family or friends, do not wait idly in their driveway and phone them to let you in. Call them using your hands-free car kit before you arrive or request that they keep an eye on your live location so that they can open up as quickly as possible once you arrive
Through the combination of concealing a panic button within your vehicle, avoiding roads and specific locations that are prone to hijacking incidents, and taking advantage of other simple technological tools, you can more effectively minimise the risks associated with hijacking and reduce the likeliness of experiencing a hijacking in South Africa.