Part of being a South African is the understanding that the levels of crime we deal with on a daily basis are quite different from other parts of the world. SAPS stats released in September reveal that carjacking has spiked over the 2014/15 year, increasing by 14.2% in comparison to the previous year as well as an increase in the number of household robberies. These statistics highlight the financial risk of not having adequate insurance protection in case of these events.
“Besides the traumatic experience, a carjacking incident has the potential to ruin an individual financially.” Says Dawie Buys, Manager of Insurance Risks at the South African Insurance Association (SAIA),
Although over all there has been a decrease in crime this year, the need to be ever more alert and vigilant in this regard has never been more urgent.
Over the last 3 years CC&A Insurance has processed over 2767 of claims valued at R 52,534,714.98.
Buys provides the following tips for consumers to prevent a potential carjacking situation:
- Always be alert of your surroundings and ensure that you are not being followed. If you suspect that you are being followed do not turn into your driveway or garage, and instead drive to a place of safety or to the nearest police station.
- Carjackers often select a location for a very specific reason. Traffic lights, intersections and parking lots are often targeted by criminals as vehicles stop for a few minutes and are therefore an easy target. Always be alert at traffic lights and ensure that all valuables are out of sight.
- Ensure that you do not always make use of the same routes home or to work as carjackers often pick up on routine. Change your route home every now and then to avoid the possibility of this occurring.
- Ensure that driveways and garages are well lit and not surrounded by too much vegetation as carjackers can make use of shadows and dense bushes to hide in.
- Consider fitting smash and grab safety film on your vehicle’s windows as it can often prevent criminals gaining access to the vehicle.
- A risky time for drivers to be alert is when they are getting in and out of a vehicle. Always try to park in busy areas that are well-lit, and immediately close the door and lock it.
- It is essential to physically check if the vehicle is locked as criminals also make use of jamming devices which can prevent the vehicle from being locked. This enables criminals to either steal the contents in the vehicle or steal the vehicle itself.
In a potential carjacking situation always remain calm, never try to attack and keep your hands where the attacker can see them.