As crime and unemployment increase in South Africa, hijacking is becoming a more frequent occurrence. Usually run by syndicates, hijacking has become a well organised and violent business.

Remembering these 17 tips can help you prevent being another victim of hijacking:

  1. Remember that 68% of all hijackings occur close to home, so be especially vigilant when pulling out of your driveway or coming home. Between 6pm and 8pm is the most dangerous times for hijackings.
  2. If you have an electric gate, do not pull into your driveway before opening the gate. This can allow hijackers to box you in. Rather open your gate while your car is still in the road to allow a quick getaway if necessary.
  3. If you suspect you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. By doing this, you force the vehicle behind you to pass and you can then get a better idea of their intentions.
  4. If you need to stop in your driveway to manually open the gate, always leave the key in the ignition and the motor
    running, unless you have a child in the car. If your child is in the car, take the key with you as you open the gate. The
    key is a valuable negotiating tool – the criminals want your car and you want your child.
  5. Always make sure you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you when you stop in traffic. This gives you enough room to manoeuvre and escape if you have to, for whatever reason.
  6. Don’t fall for the “tap-tap” trap where a driver taps the back of your car in traffic. Criminals often use female drivers as decoys here. Never get out of your car on the scene to assess the damage, but rather drive to a busy location. Signal to the other driver to follow you. If it is not legitimate, they will seldom follow you.
  7. If you live in a complex with security guards, do not be fooled into thinking you are safe. You can easily be followed into your complex, so always remain vigilant. Research shows that most people relax the closer they get to home and this is often when they are most vulnerable.
  8. Have your key ready but not visible. Unlock your car when you’re close by. Don’t talk on your cell phone as you walk.
  9. A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.
  10. Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.
  11. Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight.
  12. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy, public area.
  13. When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
  14. Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear of shrubbery.
  15. If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.
  16. Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis.
  17. Consider adding security features to your premises; such as alarm systems, security lighting, as well as door and window security glazing, locks, latches or shutters.

Professional security consultants such as Peaceforce Security offer a comprehensive risk assessment of any premises and can recommend security measures to meet the risks faced.