Sunday, 18 October 2009

Guard yourself against hijackers

October 16 2009 at 07:05AM

By Thandi Skade

With an average of about 39 vehicles hijacked per day, keeping abreast of evolving modus operandi is key to avoiding becoming a victim.

So says Auto & General director Angelo Haggiyannes, who adds that knowledge is the first line of defence.

"Today's hijackers are enterprising and ever evolving their tactics to surprise, trick and catch their victims.

The latest tactic being used by hijackers

"Motorists must be aware of new hijacking methods so that they can lessen the chance of falling victim," he says.

The latest tactic being used by hijackers, revealed by Tracker, involves removing your licence plate from your car while parked in a parking lot.

The hijackers will wait for motorists to drive off and follow them.

The hijackers rely on the fact that motorists are unaware that their plates have been removed.

They will flash the number plates in an attempt to get the driver to stop and provide themselves an opportunity to attack.

"It's surprising the unrelenting lengths criminals will go to, but this plan is no more dubious and deceptive than any other hijacking tactic that has emerged as a trend in recent years," said Haggiyannes.

Additional tactics used by hijackers include:

Pretending to be a stranded motorist;

Faking a rear-end collision or deliberately getting involved in an accident with the victim;

Throwing an object through an open window of a vehicle - the driver will come to a sudden stop, leaving them distracted and vulnerable;

Placing sharp objects behind or in front of car tyres. A hijacker will follow the driver until they stop to change the tyre; and

Leaving an object, brick or rock in the road at night, forcing the driver to stop and check the car's wheel.

Motorists are most vulnerable when:

In front of a private residence, where 51 percent of hijackings occur;

Sitting in a parked car, for example outside a school. Statistics reveal that 10 percent of hijackings occur while motorists are sitting in their cars;

At traffic lights, which account for 7 percent of hijackings; and

At a stop or yield sign.

This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on October 16, 2009


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