With South Africa’s large amounts of traffic, certain intersections and stop streets have become prime pickings for criminals. Relying on the element of surprise, they simply smash your car window, grab anything that appears to be of value, and disappear before you even know what has happened.

Chances are high that if you have never been the victim of a smash and grab, you know someone who has. However, you don’t have to be a victim. There are ways you can prevent this or, at least, reduce the chances of it happening.

Here are a few tips for smash and grab prevention:

Keep your car doors locked

Smash and grab artists, like many criminals, prefer the path of least resistance. Perhaps they do derive some sort of fun out of breaking windows, but this is not likely. Their single goal is to get hold of something valuable and get away quickly. So, leaving your doors unlocked only helps them meet their objectives. Why would they break a window and risk harming themselves when they could just open a door handle?

Do not open your windows for anyone

Even if you are polite and feel rude ignoring mobile vendors and pamphlet distributors, keep your windows closed. These people may not be in on the crime, but their distracting you only makes it easier for smash-and-grabbers to target you.

Don’t leave valuables visible

The passenger and backseats may as well be platters for smash-and-grabbers. Keep your valuable belongings locked safely in your boot or tucked under the seats.

Stay alert

Always keep an eye on your surroundings and leave a gap between your car and the car in front of you that is big enough for you to escape through, should you need to. Also, when driving at night, slow down before reaching a red light and wait for it to turn green. Sitting at a red light at night makes you a prime target.

Avoid obstacles in the road

Smash-and-grabbers like to place obstacles, such as boulders, in the road to obstruct you. Do not stop for these and never exit your vehicle to move them. Be wary, if there is a great deal of glass scattered in the road, you could be in a smash and grab hotspot. It is important to be very mindful of your surrounding in these situations.

Install protective film

It is possible to get a protective film that prevents smash and grab attempts. However, if this is not available to you, drive with a small gap between the top of your window and the door frame. This makes your window more flexible and less likely to shatter in the event of it being struck.

With these tips, you can reduce the risk of a smash and grab happening to you. But, if you do become a victim, enlist the help of one of the top security companies in South Africa – Peaceforce.