JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – National crime statistics for 2019/2020 given by police minister Bheki Cele have shown car hijacking up by 13.3%, truck hijackings by 1.7%, and reported that, from April 1 2019 to March 31 2020, 18 162 cars and 2384 trucks were hijacked.
MasterDrive’s MD Eugene Herbert told The Corner in one of his regular communications: “It is particularly concerning in the CoVid environment. Crime was only expected to increase as unemployment grew but job losses may result in people becoming desperate for an alternative source of income that some may take.
“Even being as vigilant as before may decrease as people focus on sanitising their hands and vehicle when they climb into their cars rather than driving off immediately. For others a changed way of life as a result of lockdown may result in people becoming careless and complacent.
”We strongly advise motorists to step up their vigilance.”
Constant vigilance was particularly important as opportune crime increases. “Those turning to crime as a result of desperation are not ‘career criminals’. They are more likely to seize an opportunity.
”This also creates a volatile situation. The hijacker is likely very nervous and may make a rash decision. If you do find yourself in this situation, rather comply and do not make them more nervous.
“Be sure, if you are in the habit of sanitising your hands as you get in the car, to look around first. If you feel unsettled rather sanitise when you reach home. If you avoid touching your face you can safely delay hand-sanitisation until home.
”Don’t, however, skip sanitising the car in this instance because you could have spread the virus to the steering-wheel, crash restraint, and gear-shifter stick among other spots, if it was on your hands.”
Avoid carelessness and complacency; prioritise awareness and compliance. “By doing so you could avoid becoming a victim.
MasterDrive is offering awareness classes to a limited number of interested companies. These are provided on a first come, first served, basis. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Hijack Awareness Class in the subject line.