The latest quarterly crime statistics were released and again showed some concerning trends. The last few months all indicated a rise in carjackings and the same is apparent this time. As much as 5 455 people were hijacked between October and December of 2021. This is a 13.8% increase compared to the same period previously.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, spoke to eNCA yesterday about what this means for motorists. “While the statistics in any scenario are definitely a cause for concern, it is important to consider the changes in movement the last two years is drastically different to currently. While we cannot definitively say without further research that it affects any potential comparisons, it is unlikely that changed movement does not have an effect. Unfortunately, free movement is also creating opportunities for carjackers too.
“What can be concluded definitively it’s just how unfortunate these statistics are when considering the recovery, the economy needs following a very difficult period. When one considers the 3.8% increase in truck hijackings, this is particularly true.”
Many drivers may be questioning what this means for them. “Another statistic seen during lockdown is increased cell phones use and consequently more distracted driving. The first way to protect yourself from danger is to be aware of the hijack risk when driving. Awareness of your surroundings is the first key to protecting yourself from being a victim.
“Without this level of awareness, you essentially make yourself an ideal target. Increased awareness levels also include awareness levels of high-risk situations, for example, at intersections or in your driveway. Your safety depends on avoiding unnecessary risks like being distracted.”
For all other scenarios where you are not distracted and have done everything possible to avoid being a victim of a carjacking, there are a few other tips to follow. “Chief among these, is to receive practical training on what to do should you be hijacked. MasterDrive is aware, however, this is not always possible.
“In these scenarios, remember the hijacker wants your car and would ideally avoid altercation. Consequently, surrender your car and save your life. A car is simply not worth your life. Cooperate with the hijacker and leave the rest up to your insurers and law enforcement. Doing things such as throwing your keys into the bushes will simply infuriate the carjacker nor will they be interested in requests to keep sentimental jewellery. Bargaining with a hijacker is not going to end well.”
Indicate your intention to cooperate. “The best way to do this is by raising your hands. Following this there is a specific process MasterDrive recommends following to exit the vehicle safely and with as minimal risk to yourself as possible. The most important principles on which this is built is to cooperate and minimize your chances of being hurt.
Living in South Africa means the possibility of a carjacking is something every driver must do whether they like it or not. “The first step is to be aware of your surroundings and high risk situations but this is not a guarantee and every driver should know what to do should they face this traumatic experience,” says Herbert.