Saturday we were invited by our car dealer to attend a class of car hijacking. So we went. Although vehicle hijacking is a worldwide phenomenon, it has increased to such an extent in South Africa that it is currently regarded as one of the countries with the highest hijacking figures in the world. It is estimated that a motor vehicle is hijacked every 40 to 54 minutes in South Africa. This implies that more than 25 motor vehicle drivers become victims of hijackings daily.
Hijacking in South Africa is a group activity that is usually executed by two to four males. Young black males aged between 12 and 25 are usually the offenders. Females are very rarely involved in the active hijacking of vehicles, although they may be used as accomplices to attract the attention of motorists. What we learned though at the course was that the tap-tap method: a car taps you lightly from behind, you look in the mirror and see a woman, you step out to find out the damage and then they hijack your car. Even children are used these days, so the old tricks you are warned for become new tricks because now they use the females and children in the plot.
The most dangerous place for a carjacking is at your own home in SA. While you are waiting for the gate to be opened you are at your weakest. A staggering 52% of all hijackings take place in front of private residential properties.
Rounding out the rest of the Top ten hijacking hotspots were:
2) sitting in parked cars (10%):
3) at traffic lights (7%)
4) at stop streets and yield signs (6%)
5) at business premises (5%)
6) victims forced off road by decoys (4%)
7) while taxis are loading passengers (4%)
8) at shops, phone booths, etc (3%)
9) while offloading goods (2%)
10) victims working at the roadside (2%)
At this course we got a lot of facts and figures, scary details and stories you really are not waiting for on a free Saturday morning. But what it did to us, it that we need to be more ALERT and AWARE of our surroundings. No car is safe from being hijacked, there was a list of most hijacked cars, but basically nobody is safe. And the numbers are high! Luckily we don't live in a free standing home, meaning that we don't live on a regular street where the house is surrounded by a gate. We live in a secured estate, where you first have to enter through a guarded gate. So for the hijacker to follow me to my house is impossible. So at least the first 52% we are saved from, we just have to be careful at the other spots of high risk.
Lets just pray that we won't be involved while living here!
Have a good week,