November 02 2009 at 07:13AM
By Bronwyn Gerretsen
Police and vehicle tracking companies have warned that motorists are most at risk of being hijacked in their driveways.
They also advise motorists to constantly be alert, as hijackers choose their victims by their state of mind.
Tracker spokesperson Gareth Crocker said more than half the hijackings the company dealt with happened in driveways.
Westville police spokesperson Stephen Clark, who also presents anti-hijacking seminars to companies, gave the following "nine commandments of anti-hijacking":
This reduces the chance of hijacking by 50 percent.
Be conscious of what is happening around and ahead of you. Then take action.
This reduces the chance of hijacking by 97 percent. At intersections, slow down to allow the traffic light to change instead of rushing up to a robot and sitting like a rat in a trap.
Keep doors locked:
Criminals choose the path of least resistance. Keep valuables out of sight to avoid smash-and-grabs.
Stop a safe distance from whatever is in front of you:
A safe distance is the distance it takes you to get out in one manoeuvre.
Reverse into parking bays so you can make a speedy exit if necessary. Parents must keep their children with them until all items are loaded in the car.
Park parallel to your electric gates while they are opening to avoid being blocked in by hijackers.
Cut bushes and/or clear the lower branches and foliage to eliminate hiding places.
Train and disciplined children in the car. You cannot be observant for outside threats while refereeing fights on the back seat. Teach them to obey the order "Get out of the car". If you have babies in car seats, don't give the hijacker an option - say "I am taking my baby out of the car".
This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on November 02, 2009