Crime Prevention : Safety Tips
- Always travel with the car doors locked.
- Keep all windows closed or, at most, not open more
than would allow a hand to fit through.
- Leave enough room between your car and the one in front
to avoid being boxed in. Make sure you can see where the
tyres of the other car make contact with the road.
- Remain in your car if it is hit from behind. Inspect any damage only once you are sure it is not
a hijack attempt.
- Attract the attention of other motorists or pedestrians
if you think you are in danger. You can use the hooter,
flash your lights, put your emergency lights on or shout.
- Be aware of anybody who approaches your car or is
loitering near traffic lights, stop streets, parking areas
or your driveway.
- Constantly monitor what vehicles are travelling behind,
ahead and next to you. More than one vehicle could be
involved and they could be setting a trap to stop you. If you
are suspicious of vehicles around you take (responsible)
action to get out of the situation.
- If you suspect that you are being followed, you should
ideally drive to the nearest police station. If this is not
possible, drive to another safe place but don't go home.
- If approached by a suspicious -looking person, especially at
night or in lonely areas, drive off quickly from a stop
street or intersection, always heeding traffic danger,
Skipping a stop sign or red light remains an offence and the
onus is on you to prove that your action was in self-defence.
- At unusual or unexpected roadblocks, keep windows closed
and doors locked and ask for the police or traffic officer's
identity card. Show your identity document to them through
the window. Trust works both ways. The same goes for being
stopped by traffic officers at speed traps.
- On long journeys only stop overnight at safe places.
Parking next to the road or in a parking area overnight is
- Report any suspicious looking strangers and vehicles to
the police. Give a description of the occupants and their
- Don't stop at the scene of an accident unless you are
convinced it is genuine. Accidents can be set up in the hope
that you will stop to assist. Sometimes a "body" is placed
next to the road. Rather drive on and report the incident at
the nearest police station. Slowing down too much may also
make you vulnerable.
- Don't enter your garage or a parking area if you believe
you are being followed. Drive to the nearest police station.
- Don't stop if, for example, a passer-by indicates that
your car has a flat tyre or other defect. Drive to the
nearest service station or safe area and check it there. It
is a good idea to carry a product that
temporarily seals any puncture and inflates the tyre.
- Don't tell strangers of your movements or plans.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers or unknown passengers.
- Don't leave your car door open and the engine running
while opening your garage door or gates - criminals can act
quicker than you'd expect.
- Don't be distracted by people handing out flyers at
intersections or buy items, such as flowers and newspapers,
from unfamiliar vendors.
Surviving a hijacking:
- Regardless of the sort of crime and the criminals
intentions, the situation is an explosive one in which you
both have one thing in mind: survival.
- Hijacking involve planning and the criminals are likely
to have more experience in such situations, thus more
control over you and themselves.
- A hijacking is usually over in a matter of seconds or
minutes but it is one of the most frightening experiences
one can go through. Try your utmost to stay calm. Listen to
the hijackers and do as they tell you and you have a greater
chance of surviving.
During a hijacking:
- Here are some tips on getting through the ordeal alive:
- Your life and those with you must be your priority.
Resisting the hijackers may cause then to become violent or
even deadly. Remember: possessions can be replaced, a life
- The hijackers are probably just as scared and nervous as
you are. They may event be under the influence of drugs or
alcohol which may make their actions event more
- Try not to panic and do anything the hijackers may not
be expecting. Do not scream or make sudden movements, such
as motioning with your hands.
- Avoid eye contact with them,
- Keep your hands where the hijackers can see them,
ideally at chest level. This will assure them that you are
not reaching for a weapon. Do not raise your hands above
your head as they may think you are attracting attention of
- If they order you out of the car wait fro them to open
the door or, if they order you to, do it slowly with one
hand, keeping the other where they can see it, Also undo
your seatbelt with one hand, preferably the hand furthest
from the clip by extending your arm over your body (if it is
on your left, use ;your right hand).
- Slowly move away from the car so that you cannot be
perceived as a threat to them.
- Listen carefully to and make sure you understand what
the hijackers are saying and follow their orders.
- Quietly but clearly assure the hijackers that they can
take the car.
- Do not reach for or motion towards items they may demand
such as wallets, briefcases and cell phones. Rather tell
them where they are and wait for them to get them themselves
or they may tell you to hand them over.
- Be honest with hijackers. For example, if you have a
firearm on you and they ask, tell them you have. Finding out
or suspecting you have lied to them may unsettle them and
lead to them becoming violent. Tell them honestly how to
deactivate any alarms or immobilisers or do it yourself as
- Try and concentrate on the possibility of later
identifying the hijackers. Make mental notes of how many
there are, what they are wearing, their ages, and any facial
or other physical characteristics. However, do not stare at
the hijackers; try not to be obvious. To them this means
that you will later be able to identify them and be evidence
against them and they could become violent or be less
hesitate to leave soon.
- Hijackers may not notice a sleeping baby in the back
seat. If this is the case, tell them and point out that the
child is not a threat and will make things more difficult
for them. Never move to release the child without them
saying you may. Do the same if a pet is in the car but do
not push the point to where your life may be threatened at
the expense of an animal.
- If ordered to lie down, do so and remain there with your
head down, do so and remain there with your head down. Do
not watch them. Stay still until you are sure they have left
and only then go for help.
- The hijackers may drive off with you or you may event be
ordered to drive. If you are driving, do so responsibly and
do not do anything out of the ordinary. Always remain quiet
unless you need to reply to a question or clarify an order.
Remember to be honest with them.
- Once you have been released make sure that you are out
of harm's reach before moving to get help.
After a hijacking:
Get help as soon as the hijackers have left you and
immediately report it to the police. The Police have a greater
chance of catching the criminals while they are on the move in
You experience severe trauma by a hijacking, trauma that can
manifest itself in many different ways soon or long after the
incident. You need to get professional counselling to help you
process what happened and cope with it emotionally. Seek help
within hours of the hijacking. Do not fool yourself into
thinking you'll "get over it".
Remember that you are not to blame for anything that
happened. Criminals look for new opportunities and situations
that make their potential victims vulnerable, and develop new
techniques to get our vehicles.
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