Carjacking on the rise again

Carjacking on the rise again

According to the official crime stats released last week, carjacking increased by 92.2% for the period April 2021 to 30 June 2021 compared to the same period last year. This figure, however, was adjusted to 13.2% when compared to the same period during 2019/2020. Police Minister Bheki Cele says an adjusted figure is more accurate because lockdown levels five to three affected crime as well.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says either way, this is a large increase in the number of carjackings. “While Minster Cele may believe that criminals took a break during the higher lockdown levels, the awareness and preparedness levels of drivers should never go on vacation.

“Your first defence against carjacking, is to be aware of suspicious people and situations in order to prioritise your safety. Potentially risky people or behaviour include cars or people around your driveway when you arrive home, cars driving behind you for some time, someone different or unusual at an intersection or suspicious people in parking lots. Pay attention to what is around you and if your gut instinct feels off, listen to it.”

Unfortunately, however, the possibility that you still fall victim to a carjacking is very high. “While a comparison to 2019 figures is likely more accurate, the figure could possibly still be higher due to the intense economic pressure on citizens. If you find yourself in this situation, these are the most important tips to keep in mind,” says Herbert.

  1. A car is replaceable a life is not. Do not argue, fight or try anything dangerous to escape the situation. News stories about drivers whose ‘heroic’ actions helped them escape would be far lower if the stories of people who tried fighting, but failed, were published.
  2. Indicate your willingness to comply. A hijack extraction course will teach you the steps to take that will indicate to a criminal that you will surrender the car.
  3. Before it is a real-life situation, teach your children how to react if they are ever in a carjacking. This includes learning what is the best way to get your children out of the car and sharing this with them in a manner that they will remember.
  4. Ensure you regularly practice getting out of a vehicle in the same way you would during a carjacking – as often as possible. Make it the normal way you exit your car so that if it had to happen, it is muscle memory and you react automatically.

As the economy continues to struggle to recover, it is unlikely the next crime stats will improve by much. “Ensure no matter what the stats say, that you are constantly aware and know what to do if you come face-to-face with a carjacker,” says Herbert.

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