How to Avoid The Emotional Threat And Devastating Effects Of Crime – Hijacking (Carjacking), mugging, attacks and the like is a necessary skill in today’s world, and with the unemployment rates of 2021, crime is likely to get worse!
This does not mean that we have to accept it as inevitable. There are things that we can do to mitigate our risk. In this article, I gave included subjects that I have learned over the years as a Policeman and as a security specialist and trainer
I have also tried to include the answers to many of the questions asked at my Security Workshops.
Mentally and Emotionally Preparedness
If you do not acknowledge that there is a serious crime problem then, you are not mentally prepared to avoid being a victim. You will probably be one of those who is most surprised that someone could mug them or hijack them etc.
The first step to avoid being mugged is to acknowledge that there is a likelihood or at least a possibility of you being affected by crime. Once you have this mindset you can start preparing yourself emotionally and physically.
Although Ceimw is an absolutely real part of South African Life, It does not mean that you must sit back and accept it!
Before you go Further, Download the workbook from my training sessions here. Complete the sign-up form and you will be directed to the download.
Be Aware – Security Awareness
- People – Take note of the people around you. Quite often, you will notice when something is amiss. A person or a group of people that seem to be paying more attention to you than is normal etc. is surely a warning sign. Peoples dress and behaviour can also give you an indication. For instance, one or two people standing within striking distance of your driveway and a car parked over the road or a short distance from your driveway is another warning sign.
- Places – Be aware of where you are and where you are going. Going through a dodgy neighbourhood is not wise, like driving around the docks, especially at night!
- Property – What property do you have with you and where is it? Is your laptop bag on the front or rear seats, on the passenger side floor where you can reach it easily? Well, so can the criminal and smash and grab happens so quickly! What about your handbag? Did you unpack it at the til so that you can get your purse or keys or some other item you needed? If you did, you telegraphed to all watching what you have in your bag and if it was worth snatching or not.
- Jewellery – Those expensive watches, Diamon necklaces, Earings and broaches telegraph MONEY and you instantly become a target. Gone are the days where we can display our favourite jewellery in public.
- Mitigate Risks – To do this, you really need to think “security” at all times. Are your valuables out of sight, In the boot instead of in the car? Are your doors locked and your windows closed? Keep your handbag around your kneck and not just over your shoulder. Be aware of where you are and where you are going.
- GPS – Your GPS is not your friend so don’t trust it. It knows the routes to your destination but it cannot distinguish between safe or dangerous routes. My GPS took me through a riot one evening, in and area I had never been to before. Through some tactical driving and tones of luck, I made it out of there.
So, not to belabour the point:-
- Environment – Be aware of where you are and who is around you. Make sure that your route is safe and that your vehicle is locked and windows closed
- Your Image – Your age and sex cannot be changed but you can posture can, and believe it or not, if you appear confident and resistant, they might look for someone else that will probably put up less resistance. Clothes and jewellery can mark you as a target. Do not wear your jewellery so that it is visible if you must wear them. Do not portray yourself as a worthwhile target.
- Who Looks out of place – This is a very subjective test. Criminals do not have a special look, a sign saying “I’m Here” or a special dress code so it is more about who you feel is out of place.
Avoid A Hijacking Situation
Your Location has very little to do with hijacking these days. It might play a role once you have been chosen as a target but it does not play a roll in the decision as to whether or not they are going to hijack you.
What does play a major roll in you being hijacked is the Type Of Car you drive. Gangs get orders for certain cars each day and they go out to find the vehicles that they plan to hijack.
These gangs are well organised and will hijack a number of vehicles a day so they target the care and not the location as such.
Previously, I would mention that the driver plays a role and by that, I would suggest that how the driver appears and acts would play a role but these days I am hesitant to say that as even Policemen are being tied up and robbed while in full uniform in broad daylight!
Yes, there is such a thing as a hijacking hotspot, well in South Africa at least. We have road signs designating “hijacking hotspots”. As a rule, these are usually at intersections but there are other, unmarked “Hijacking Hotspots”:
I will deal with 3 common types of hijacking hotspots:-
1. Home Hijacking (51% )
Leaving Home or Arriving Home accounts for 51% of hijackings so this is your most dangerous venue for hijackings. I will deal with departing and arriving at home separately.
Leaving Home – We are often least observant at this stage as we are concentrating on work issues, getting into the car and entering the traffic when this is a time for being really observant.
- Before unlocking the car unlock just the boot.
- Place your bags, briefcase and laptop in the boot0
- Lock it again.
- Take a walk to the gate (without opening it) and take a look at what is going on outside your yard.
- Say goodbye to the family.
- Unlock the car and get in.
- Lock the vehicle before starting it.
- Drive to the gate and then open it (ensure that you reverse park your vehicle at night so that you drive out forwards instead of trying to reverse out).
- Drive out and stop diagonally while you wait for your gate to close. Stop in such a way that if someone pulls up in front of you, to block your route, you can reverse in a different direction to avoid them and escape.
- When your visitors or family are leaving open the gats once they have entered the car, locked it and driven to the gate.
- If they need to reverse out, look out your gate for hidden dangers before opening the gate for them.
- If your visitors park in the street or on the verge, escort them out and ensure that they depart safely. If you have dogs, take them with you.
- As you head towards home, make sure that you are not being followed.
- If you are suspicious of a vehicle, make a few detours around the block to see if they follow.
- If they follow, head to the local police station
- As you approach your home, look for any suspiciously parked vehicles or people close to your gate.
- Do not stop if you are suspicious.
- When you alight from your vehicle is when you are most vulnerable. Do not leave your keys in the ignition. take them with you.
- If you are attacked, throw the keys over the wall/fence. It is a slim chance but probably worth taking.
2.Parking Areas (10%)
- Vulnerable times This is as it is at home or anywhere else, when alighting from the vehicle, packing your purchases into the boot and when you get into the vehicle.
- When selecting a parking spot, shade should not be your primary concern. Stay away from remote or isolated parking spots or parking where there is no light at night. If your spot had a light when you parked and it is out when you return, do not go to your vehicle. Get help to escort you.
- Be aware of the people around the parking spot or sitting in a vehicle watching.
- When you approach your vehicle, after shopping or after a meeting etc, be aware of the Car Guards. They are not always your friend and have been known to be involved in thefts and hijackings.
- As you approach your vehicle, you are usually accosted by car guards hoping to get paid for pushing your trolly or watching your car, not that he knows which one is yours. When the Car Guard walks away from you quickly or is nowhere to be seen when you approach your vehicle, be very aware. Look around before you go to your car. Walk to another vehicle first while you look around. If everything is OK then move to your car. If not. go back to the store and ask for help.
- Det in the car and lock your doors.
- Be aware of people around you that might try to slip into the rear seat or the passenger seat. You don’t want unexpected passengers.
3. Mobile Hijacking
Some of the schemes used to get you to stop ar ingenious. For example, they will remove your front number plate (you would possibly notice if the rear one is missing). When you drive off, they will follow and when you get to a suitable area, they will pull up next to you and show you your number plate. You then stop to retrieve it from them and they pull you out of your vehicle and drive off with it and all your valuables.
There are many more tricks and one must be open-minded and prepared. Another favourite location is traffic signals as well as stop and yield signs.
How To Respond In A Hijacking Situation
- Being hijacked or mugged can be a very traumatic experience and one needs to try and keep calm. Becoming enraged and resisting is not an option unless you have suitable training, in which case, you would not become enraged.
- Panicking and becoming hysterical would also place you and your passengers in danger. You need to keep calm, do not confront them or look at them directly. Give them what they want and stay alive. do not put yourself or your passengers at risk.
- The hijackers will also be nervous as they are at risk of being arrested or shot by bystanders. Do not do anything to alarm them and answer their questions honestly.
- If they ask about a firearm answer them honestly. if you lie and they find it, they might retaliate violently.
- You will probably be scared and panicked but you must try to listen and understand what is being asked of you by the hijackers. comply.
- If you have a baby in the rear that they may not have seen, TELL THEM! Ask to remove your child without posing any threat to them. Do not move towards the vehicle but ask them to pass the child to you.
- If they drive off with your child, STAY ALIVE. Do not try and do anything dramatic. If you survive, you can call for help, give descriptions and other information that can save your child. If you are dead or unconscious, who knows about your child?
Being Mugged Is A Reality
Mugging does not happen only to pedestrians. A family member was at a traffic light with huis window open, talking on the phone when a young male slapped the phone into his ear. He instinctively pulled the phone from his ear, loosening his grip and the young man took his phone out of his hand and ran away.
Some Pre-emptive Detterants to Muggings::
- Again, be aware of your surroundings.
- Walk with meaning and confidence and make eye contact with the people around you.
- Do not carry your bag over your shoulder. that is the same as offering it to anyone that wants it. Put the strap over your head so that the bag hangs diagonally across your chest.
- Put your wallet in an inside jacket pocket hot in the back pocket of your trousers.
- Walk-in well lite busy streets, with one or more friends if possible.
- Do not hang your cellphone around your neck or carry it in your hand. keep it out of sight.
- Avoid going out after hours unnecessarily. During this current COVIC 19 Lockdown, this is not really difficult.
- Avoid shortcuts through parks and unlit streets.
What To Do If You Are Mugged
Actions During The Mugging
- Don’t be a hero. Give them what they want. As a very young policeman, I remember attending my second murder scene where a man was stabbed for 25 cents. Surely his life was worth more than that. Don’t resist!
- Remain calm and do not resist.
- Observe but do not star or look directly at them.
- Do not scream or panic.
Actions After Mugging
- As soon as they leave, seek assistance.
- If the muggers dropped your purse or wallet etc. stand by it but DO NOT pick it up. there might be fingerprints on it.
- Open a case.
Extra Safety Tips for Your Home
- Number your house clearly, in an open predominant place.
- Ensure that your gates are locked at night.
- Consider remote gates as a security essential and not a luxury. Have them installed as soon as you can.
- Ensure that your entrance and parking are well lite.
- Never leave important document or documents with your ID or address in your car.
- Have a vehicle tracki9ng system installed in your vehicle.
When Are You Most Vulnerable
WHEN AM I THE MOST VULNERABLE?
At traffic lights 7%
At a stop street or yield sign 6%
At other intersections 1 %
In front of private residences 51 %
At business premises 5%
At shops, post offices, telephone booths, etc 3%
At filling stations 1%
Victims sitting in parked cars 10%
Victims forced off the road by decoys 4%
Victims parking, i.e. Either starting cars or leaving/approaching parked cars 2%
Victims’ stationery and working at the roadside, i.e. repairing telephone cables 2%
While loading and offloading goods 2%
By hitch-hikers 1%
While taxis are loading/offloading passengers 4%
Make Your World A Safer Place
While we are all ready to apportion blame for the crime to the Police and the State departments, we must also take responsibility for our own actions. We need to be aware of what we are buying from second-hand stores and from the vendors at the robots etc.
Buying cheap goods from people when we know that they “fell off the truck”. Stop buying these goods from these people and we reduce their market.
Get involved with your local community watch and become part of the community helping to reduce crime in our local communities.
While we will never eradicate crime, our becoming active in the community will certainly help reduce the crime in our areas.
Companies can help by arranging workshops for their staff to help raise awareness and help them avoid being a victim.
Please leave a comment about crime and how it is affecting your life in the comments section below.