As hijackers continue to adopt new deceptive tactics, consumers need to raise self-awareness and become more vigilant during this time. According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), 5 488 cars were hijacked during the second quarter of 2023, with an estimated 60 carjackings reported each day (up from 57 cars per day in Q1 2023).
According to Youlon Naidoo, Executive Head: Claims and Procurement at MiWay Insurance, of all the methods carjackers use, the most common place of attack is still right outside the motorist’s home – in the driveway. He says that despite your home being commonly considered a ‘safe place’, it has become the most targeted. “In addition, according to recently released statistics by Crime SA, an estimated 71% of South African car hijackings occur in residential driveways. Our internal data further reveals that most hijackings take place within a five-kilometer radius, mainly between 6pm and 9pm, and that they rarely occur in the morning.”
Here are some of the safety tips from Naidoo to help South African motorists be extra vigilant when arriving home:
Make sure no one is following you when driving home
Hijackers are constantly attempting new tactics, so car owners also need to be smarter and stay a step ahead by being constantly aware of their surroundings. Whether leaving the shopping mall or the airport – both being commonly targeted areas – keep an eye on your rearview mirror to ensure that no one is tracking your route. Regardless of the make, model or the colour of the vehicle, always stay vigilant.
Alternate your route home
Changing your daily route from your original route when heading home may be wise. Attackers are more likely to learn your travel patterns and follow you home when using the exact same route daily.
Know your nearest police station
If it looks as though you are being followed or should you feel uncomfortable, do not drive home, instead head to your nearest police station. Having an escape route planned will help to distract criminals and alert them that you have spotted their unusual actions.
Times are erratic during this season
Our movements and behaviors change from our usual routines over the festive season. Whatever the time, when arriving home, do not open your gate and pull into your driveway if there is a car behind you. Instead drive around the block to see if you can lose the car, or stop parallel to your gate, which will allow you to make a quick getaway should the trailing vehicle slow down. Always make sure that you always observe your full surroundings look forward, backwards and sideways.
Insurance cover is critical to recover from a hijacking
According to an article by Auto Pedigree, it is estimated that 65 – 70% of the approximately 12 million vehicles on the road are uninsured. This insurance gap is massive. For these motorists, it means there is no chance of replacing a vehicle if it is not recovered by the police or a tracking company.
Naidoo concludes by stating, “Insurance is there to help place you back in the position you were in before an unfortunate event occurred. To help minimise the financial fall-out from such incidents, especially during what is supposed to be a family-focused and stress-free time of year, make sure you are well covered against unforeseen acts of crime.”
For this reason, in any event that you feel at risk or in danger, MiWay offers a value-added product – MiGuard – which serves as a personal armed security response service. The use of the MiWay App enables you to press the panic button at any time you need to signal an armed guard and MiWay will send one to your location immediately. We have access to over 3 000-armed reaction teams nationally.