- Be familiar with your environment
- Get to know who belongs near your home or workplace.
- Keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary
- Ensure all your mirrors are adjusted to give you an optimal all-round view of your surroundings.
- When entering your vehicle, have your key ready, but not visible.
- Ensure that anyone leaving your property can get into their car, start it, lock the doors and be fully prepared to drive off before the gates are opened.
- If possible, ensure that anyone leaving your premises can do so without having to reverse into the road. Reversing forces one to concentrate on the driving and not what lies outside the gate. It also greatly reduces visibility.
- If your visitors must park in the street, escort them out on foot and check that the road is clear for them. If you have dogs, take them with you, especially after dark.
- If you have electric gates and buzzer system, ensure that visitors can reach the buzzer without having to get out of their cars.
- At home, when someone rings the bell and you have established that the person can enter your property, do not leave them stationary waiting outside for longer than is necessary.
- Do not hesitate to drive away if you spot a suspicious looking person or vehicle in your immediate vicinity.
- Be particularly alert if you live in a cul de sac given their single point of entry and exit.
- Never leave any important documents in your car ie. bank statements, invoices, telephone accounts, credit cards, keys or remote controls or personal post, anything that may provide personal details
- When parking your vehicle, check rear-view mirror to ensure that you are not being followed.
- Never sit in a parked car without being conscious of your surroundings.
No matter how outraged you may feel at the time, your prime objective must be to look after your personal safety and that of your passengers. The preservation of human life must take precedence over material assets.
Do nothing that is going to alarm the hijackers. Never initiate any movement yourself. This may give the hijacker the impression that you are reaching for a gun or panic button.
Remember – the hijackers will be nervous, if not more so, than you! Do not motion with your hands, rather tell them where they can find the items.
Keep your hands clearly visible and as still as possible, ideally at chest level. Do not raise your hands above your head as the hijackers may interpret this as you are trying to attract the attention of a third party.
Answer any questions truthfully especially about firearms. If the hijacker finds out or suspects that you have lied to him, he is more likely to turn violent and unleash his frustrations on you physically,
Even in your shocked and terrified state, try to listen and understand exactly what they want from you.
Try to concentrate on the possibility of identifying your attackers at a later stage.
Remember – this does not mean staring at them, making it obvious that you are looking for a means of identifying them.
If you have a baby sleeping in the back seat which they may not have noticed, tell the hijackers. Ask them if you can fetch your child, do not move towards the car without explicit directive. Tell them that a baby means no harm and is no threat.
Do the same if you have a pet in the car. Do not push the issue to the point where your life may be threatened at the expense of a pet.
(Extracts from Hijacking Awareness Guide – W O Riaan Steenkamp Elsburg SAPS)