How to Avoid a Hijacking

Hijackings have become a distressingly commonplace crime in South Africa with more people being the victims of hijackings per year than most other countries in the world. Emergency services have their hands full so it falls to the people to ensure that they are protected from hijackings as best possible. A hijacking can happen anytime and anyplace but with a little precaution you can ensure that you are a little safer from a possible hijack situation.

Before you can adequately protect yourself against a hijacking it is useful to know how hijackers operate. Emergency services have identified a number of common methods hijackers use to achieve their intended goals. Knowing what targets they are likely to go for can help you protect yourself. Most hijackings:

•    Take place in the driveways of homes while the driver is waiting for the gate to open or close.
•    Take place when a car is stationary along the side of the road – for example when people are talking on their cell phone.
•    Take place in quiet parking areas where you can be easily followed.
•    Take place while you are loading or unloading passengers or goods and the vehicle is idling.

These are some of the more common ways to hijack a vehicle but there is a lot you can do to avoid the situation in the first place and a lot depends on the location.

When you enter your driveway emergency services offer some sound advice to avoid a hijacking situation. Remain alert and always check your driveway and the area for any suspicious individuals that may be lurking. Your suspicions should be aroused if you see people sitting in a parked car or unknown persons walking or sitting in the area that do not appear to belong there. If you have to leave the vehicle to open the gate, turn off the ignition, leave the keys in the ignition and remember to close the door – only when you have children in the car should you remove the keys from the ignition.

As many hijackings occur at night make sure that there is ample light around the driveway and gate area of your home. Emergency services also suggest phoning ahead to let someone know that you are about to arrive so they can open the gate for you or at least act as an extra pair of eyes for any suspicious persons.

When you park your vehicle at another location it is also important to be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors to ensure that you are not being followed and observe your surroundings to take note of any places that may conceal a possible hijacker. It is also very important to never sleep in a parked car unless know that you are safe or when you are completely aware of your surroundings. Take not of security guards and other people so you are able to go for assistance if necessary.

Vigilance is your greatest ally in avoiding hijackings. If you are aware of your surroundings then you can avoid a hijacker before they even realise you have arrived. Emergency services have their hands full with the crime problems that are plaguing South Africa and every little bit of help the public can offer by keeping themselves safe is advantageous. Be aware for your own safety.

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