Crime Prevention : Safety Tips
- Always travel with the doors locked.
- Keep all windows closed or, at most, do not open them 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 by another
vehicle. Inspect any damage only once you are sure it is not a
- 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 and shout.
- Be aware of anybody who approaches your car or is
loitering near traffic lights, stop streets, parking areas or
- Constantly monitor what vehicles are travelling behind
you, ahead of 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 do not 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 to rest/stay overnight at safe
places. Parking next to the road or in a parking area
overnight is not safe.
- Report any suspicious-looking strangers and vehicles to
the police. Give a description of the occupants and their
- Do not 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 put next
to the road. Rather drive on and report the incident at the
nearest police station. Even slowing down much may make you
- Do not enter your garage or a parking area if you believe
you are being followed. Drive to the nearest police station.
- Do not 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 keep a product that temporarily seals any puncture and
inflates the tyre, in your car.
- Do not tell strangers of your movements and/or plans.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers or unknown passengers.
- Do not leave your car door open and the engine running
while opening your garage door or gates - criminals can act
faster than you expect.
- Do not be distracted by people handing out flyers at
intersections or buy items, such as flowers, newspapers, cold
drinks from unfamiliar vendors.
Surviving a hijacking - general tips:
- 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 involves planning and the criminals are likely
to have more experience in such situations, therefore 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.
Tips on getting through a hijacking 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 even be under the influence of drugs or
alcohol which may make their actions event more unpredictable.
- 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 trying to attract the attention of
- If they order you out of the car, wait for 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 cellphones. Rather tell the
hijackers where the items are and wait for them to get the
items 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, make
them nervous or aggressive and lead to them becoming violent.
Tell them honestly how to deactivate any alarms or
immobilizers or do it yourself, as ordered.
- 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 be obvious, do
not stare at the hijackers. To them this means that you will
later be able to identify them and give evidence against them
and they could become violent or decide to kill you.
- 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
- If ordered to lie 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 even 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 experiencing 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 deal with what happened and cope with it
emotionally. Seek help within hours of the hijacking. Do not
fool yourself into thinking you will “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 steal our vehicles.
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