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Zero in on crime: Hijacking precautions
11 August 2003
Campus Protection Services' (CPS) Blow the Whistle on Crime Week was a resounding success with over 500 whistles distributed to women staff and students who work late on campus.
According to Stuart Wragg, CPS Security Manager, the aim of the week, which was to encourage all students and staff to anticipate and recognise crimes and safety risks, was achieved.
But with hijackings on the increase in the greater Cape Town area, Wragg and his team urge the university community to remain vigilant when driving about.
The following precautions help to prevent hijackings:
Travel with your doors locked and windows closed or only slightly open
Be alert, particularly at the start and end of your journey, or whenever you have to stop. You are more likely to be hijacked when your vehicle is at a standstill
Be wary of people loitering near stop streets or intersections, especially at night
Ensure that cell phones, handbags or other valuable items are not openly displayed in your vehicle. This will deter criminals from smash and grab robberies
Check your rear-view mirror frequently. If you think you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or busy shopping centre
Ensure you have your spouse/ friend/local police/emergency numbers on speed dial on your cell phone
While driving, disregard people who indicate that there is a problem with your vehicle. Rather drive to a safe area and check your vehicle only then
If your windscreen is sprayed by a passing car or pedestrian, do not switch on your windscreen wipers; hijackers spray silicone onto windscreens, the driver uses the wipers to remove the substance only to smear the silicone and obscure their view, making the car an easy target
When travelling on a lonely road or at night, do not get out of your car to remove obstacles in the road. If you cannot drive around them, reverse your vehicle for a safe distance before turning around
If you damage your vehicle by hitting the obstacle, drive on as far as you can until you reach a place of safety
When stopping behind another vehicle leave enough space to drive around it if necessary.
If you are confronted by hijackers, be obliging, Wragg advised. Make sure your hands remain visible and refrain from making any sudden movements. Keep in mind the following:
The hijackers will be extremely nervous and you should not do anything to cause them alarm or agitate them further
Do not reach for anything without first telling the hijackers what you are going to do. If you are told to get out of the vehicle, leave valuables behind. If you need to unbuckle your seatbelt, tell the hijackers before doing so
Without being obviously observant, note as many details of the hijackers as possible; names, features and markings, clothes and accessories, and other vehicles that are involved
When it is safe to do so, call the police immediately.