Put it in the boot!

Earlier this year, stats were released that said between April and September, the city of Cape Town reported a slight decrease in theft from vehicles. Unfortunately, concurrently, there was a 500% increase in the number of smash-and-grab incidents.

Consequently, the City released six intersections where the most smash-and-grab incidents and/or theft out of motor vehicle occurs, cautioning motorists to be extra vigilant:

  • Intersections along Jakes Gerwel Drive
  • Stellenbosch Arterial Road and Adam Tas Road
  • Robert Sobukwe Road and 35th Avenue
  • 35th Avenue and Bishop Lavis Drive
  • Owen Street and 35th Avenue
  • Reygersdal on the Atlantis MyCiTi route

Awareness of surroundings is one of the best ways to protect yourself wherever you reside. The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, expands: “Being on your cellphone, adjusting the radio or infotainment system or even just daydreaming automatically makes you a target. At intersections criminals scout for easy targets. Paying attention to people alongside the road and to your surroundings makes you less of a target.

“The City of Cape Town says during a recent awareness drive, a large number of drivers were using their phones at intersections. MasterDrive continually urges drivers to leave their phones alone while driving. This is not just while moving but even when you are stationary. You put yourself at risk to both traffic incidents and criminals even at a standstill.” 

There are also a number of other steps to take. “Anticipate the conditions ahead to try avoid coming to a complete stop. If a traffic light is red, immediately start slowing down and gradually approach and only start picking up speed again once it turns green. This way, you are not a standing target.

“Loadshedding and broken traffic lights can make this more difficult but there are still measures to take even if you are forced to come to a complete stop. Firstly, never block yourself in. There should be enough room ahead of you, in particular, but also ideally on either side and behind you so if you see someone suspicious approaching, you have room for evasive action.”

Are there foolproof ways to protect yourself? “Yes - put your possessions in the boot and your phone out of sight. During the awareness campaign, it was noted drivers still have handbags and other valuable possessions clearly visible. Do not be an unaware motorist with a guaranteed reward for criminals.

“Even placing shopping bags, non-valuable items or throwing your jacket onto the backseat, create opportunities. Put everything in the boot and valuable items in closable storage compartments. Hiding handbags under the seat is still risky and even key fobs shouldn’t be visible.”

It is an unfortunate reality that stopping at intersections has risks to your safety. Do not make yourself a target if there are steps you can take to remove your appeal as a potential victim.