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Juliet McGuire

Hijacking and what you really need to know

It has been a while since I posted about hijackings, in fact, it has been a while since I have posted anything at all. That is because I have been travelling across America on a much-needed holiday. But you were never far from my mind.

While gorging myself on everything deep fried, I chatted to a few locals about crime and specifically about hijackings and cars being stolen. What a wonderful thing it must be to live in a place where hijacking is such a foreign concept. Sure, it does happen, but it’s not like living in South Africa where around *43 hijackings occur every single day.

WHERE ARE YOU SAFE?

Like anywhere, hijackings in America occur more frequently in certain places and one needs to be far more aware and alert. I returned to South Africa only yesterday, but it got me thinking, if someone from overseas came here, surely they should know the more dangerous places to avoid. This doesn’t only go for tourists, though, but also for our own people of this land. Arming yourself with information is key.

According to an article on Business Insider, more than half of all vehicle-related crime in South Africa occurs in Gauteng. Hijackings are more prevalent in Johannesburg, but more cars are stolen in Pretoria. Durban comes in next and the Western Cape takes third position, with hijackings mainly occurring in Khayelitsha while theft is highest in Cape Town central.

According to the article, other theft and hijacking hotspots in South Africa included eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Ibhayi in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in the North West, Polokwane in Limpopo and Bloemfontein in the Free State.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

It is also important to note that most vehicles are hijacked or stolen on a Saturday, followed by Thursday and Friday for hijackings and theft respectively. The reports most often come in between 20:00 and 21:00 but don’t think you are safe in broad daylight because the next most popular time reported for hijackings is between 12:00 and 14:00.

WHICH CARS ARE TARGETED?

According to Business Tech, the most hijacked cars are sedans and hatchbacks while bakkies come in third. It’s well known that in South Africa Toyota is the most hijacked brand with Volkswagen coming in second. But one needs to consider that these are also the two most popular brands and so there are more of these vehicles on our roads. It doesn’t mean that because you drive a Toyota or a Volkswagen that you are necessarily going to be targeted.

HOW TO KEEP SAFE

This is the whole point of my article. How the heck are we supposed to keep ourselves safe in such an unsafe country? There are many anti-hijacking tips one should take note of, but this is sometimes not enough.

This is where an app like 911Response24 comes in. If you find yourself in a situation, all you do is press the panic button on your phone (you would have obviously downloaded the app already). A signal is immediately sent to emergency services as well as your list of friends and family, who are all notified as to your exact location. The emergency services located closest to you are dispatched. Whether it is a medical emergency or if you are in need of an armed response vehicle, the tech team behind the app take care of it all. Especially if you are unable to talk.

From the time an alert is triggered, everyone is kept updated. You, your friends and family and emergency personnel can all see when help has been dispatched in real time.

If you have any questions about the app, please get in touch with me. Even if you just want a few tips on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the roads, give me a hollar on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

*Based on the South African Police Services (SAPS) crime statistics for 2018/2019. 16,026 reported incidents were over this period.

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