Car hijacking is a serious threat to our personal safety because the thief uses force and fear to rob motorists their cars. Sometimes drivers or other occupants travelling with them are kidnapped during a car hijacking, and if lucky they are dropped off nearby unharmed. The worst scenario is when one is transported to a secondary crime scene, which is usually more dangerous than the original confrontation. Victims sometimes suffer other crimes like Rape, Assault Grievous Bodily Harm, and even Murder. This type of crime started in Neighbouring countries in the mid-1980s and expanded to Swaziland.
Where Does Car Hijacking Occur
Car hijacking can occur anywhere, but is largely a big city problem like traditional auto theft.
Car Hijacking occurs most often in a busy commercial area where cars are parked and when the owner is entering or exiting the parked vehicle. Most car hijackings or attempts occur within five Kilometres of the victim’s home, or in a long road wilderness terrain where a car chase by hijackers may occur i.e. road terrain from Oeshoek to Carolina in Republic of South Africa where car hijacking nightmare was experienced by a number of Swazi motorists when travelling to South Africa along the Caroline road in Mpumalanga. Also those traveling from Golela/Lavumisa to Durban, Places like in Mkuze and Mtubatuba, Kwa- Zulu/Natal hijacking is rife. Most hijackings happen at around 9:30 pm into the night.
Motorists stopping in the wilderness can increase the risk of being hijacked. The car hijacker wants the keys readily available and the car doors unlocked for a quick getaway. Car hijackers tend to rob mostly lone victims more to avoid witnesses.
Popular car hijacking locations
– Parking lots
– Shopping centres
– Gas stations
– Car washes
– Convenience stores
– Bank ATMs
– Valet parking
– Fast-food drive-thru
– And outside of retail stores.
– Sometimes car hijackings occur in a roadway intersection that has a traffic-light. Here carjackers will jump out of another vehicle and pull open another drivers’ car unlocked door forcing the driver out.
Close proximity to a freeway on/off-ramp is a desirable escape factor from the carjackers prospective.
How It Occurs
– Other schemes bump your car from behind to get you to pull over and stop. The driver (Victim) alight from vehicle thinking it’s a genuine accident. That is a perfect scenario for car hijackers.
– In other instances the car hijacker, and his accomplice, follow the intended victim to a suitable location, where there are escape routes and few witnesses.
– The car hijacker will crash into the back of your vehicle at low speed and gentle pump your vehicle with enough force to incite you to believe that a traffic accident had just occurred. Typically, the drivers of both vehicles pull over, stop, and get out discussing the damages. Then someone pretending to be a Good Samaritan may soon hijack the unsuspecting victim, robs off owner vehicle, its’ contents, and drive away. Then the hijacker’s car gets driven away by the accomplice and if lucky leaving you on the scene.
What to do to avoid Hijacking?
Mind your surroundings when parking or approaching your parked car. Car hijacking of parked vehicles depends on the car owners being inattentive to their surroundings. Carjackers prefer surprises. Most never see the carjacker until they appeared at their car door. To reduce risk of being carjacked it is safer to follow the steps below:
– Always park in well-lighted areas, if you plan to arrive/leave after dark
– Don’t park in isolated or visually obstructed areas near walls or heavy foliage
– Use valet parking or an attended garage, if you’re a woman driving alone
– As you walk to your car be alert to suspicious persons sitting in cars
– Watch out for young males loitering in the area (handing out flyers, etc)
– If someone tries to approach, change direction or run to a busy store
– Follow your instincts if they tell you to walk/run away to a busy place
– As you approach your vehicle, look under, around, and inside your car
– If safe, open the door, enter quickly, and lock the doors
– Don’t be a target by turning your back while loading packages into the car
– Make it your habit to always start your car and drive away immediately
– Teach and practice with your children to enter and exit the car quickly
– In the city, always drive with your car doors locked and windows rolled up
– When stopped in traffic, leave room ahead to manoeuvre and escape, if necessary
– If you are bumped in traffic, by young males, be suspicious of the accident
– Beware of the Good Samaritan who offers to repair your car or a flat tire. It’s okay to get help, but just be alert.
– If a motorist signal of a tyre puncture, do not stop, drive to the nearest busy place or gas station before getting out
What to do if confronted by an armed robber of Hijacker
– If you are ever confronted by an armed hijacker don’t resist
– Give up your keys or money if demanded without resistance
– Don’t argue, fight or chase the robber. You can be seriously injured
– Never agree to be kidnapped. Drop the cars keys and run and scream for help
– If you are forced to drive, consider crashing your car near a busy intersection to attract attention so bystanders can come to your aid and call the police
– Call the police immediately to report the crime and provide detailed information