Hijacking - worth reading. - Ian (Cape Town)
This appeared in a local paper today. As I'm aware that there is an increase in hijacking in UK at present, I thought I'd post it as information. Obviously, the majority of Jacking occurs at private houses here, but the rest of the article could give some advise worth remembering.

You're tired; it's been a long day and the traffic's been heavy. You pull up outside your front gates, hit the remote - and suddenly there's a man alongside you pointing a gun at your head. You are being hijacked.

Hijacking is a very emotive subject in South Africa. It has left a major scar on the national psyche because it's now a serious problem.

Last year 14 000 cars were hijacked in South Africa, 9 000 of them in Gauteng alone.

And the bad news, according to Richard Brussow of the National Hijack Prevention Academy (NHPA), is that hijacking is growing.

Tuning the world out could be the last thing you ever do
As the motor manufacturers create increasingly sophisticated security systems for their cars, more and more car-theft syndicates - and there are about 90 operating in South Africa at present - are being forced to take cars at gunpoint rather than steal them off the streets.

Nobody knows more about hijacking than Richard Brussow. A cop for more than 15 years, he has served with the murder and robbery as well as the car-theft units, and he has the bullet wounds to prove it.

Nowadays he runs a private anti-hijack company that specialises in educating drivers and companies how to avoid being hijacked.

Thanks to the Matrix car-recovery company, who sponsored a course at the NHPA, I was able to attend a seminar recently.

There's one thing that Richard emphasises right from the off: YOUR LIFE IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR CAR. In other words, when a man points a gun at your head, it's no time for heroics.

It's a war out there and to survive you need to think like a criminal
Consider this for a moment; when a guy aims a firearm at you and tries to hijack your car, the ball is in your court.

You have a split second to decide whether to give him the car or whether to resist. If you refuse, you've put the ball back in his court.

He now has two choices. He can either walk away and say okay you win, or he has to take the car by violent force. Guess which choice you've forced him to make!

Sadly, there's no secret recipe to avoid being hijacked. All you can do is to try and reduce the possibility by BEING AWARE of the circumstances in which it might happen.

Most of the time, a car hijacker can only point a gun at your head when your car is stopped.

Which means that you are most at risk at places like stop streets, traffic lights, parking lots, post offices, filling stations, offloading passengers at school or work and - the hijackers' current favourite - your front gate.

More than 70 percent of hijackings in Gauteng now happen in the driveways of the victims' homes.

To avoid this situation you need to be extra alert. About 2km from your home, switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings.

Are you being followed? Most hijackings are done to order. If they want your car you might be under surveillance.

If you think you are being followed, drive past your home to see whether you continue to be followed. If you are, drive to the nearest police station.

If you think it's safe to enter your driveway and you have a remote control, drive through the gate and stop immediately afterwards, leaving the car in reverse until the gate closes.

Don't just drive through and leave the gate standing open for anyone to enter.

If you have to get out of the car to open the gate, switch off the car, leave the key in the ignition, close the car door and open the gate.

Don't take the key with you. Why not? Because it means the hijacker now has to attack you physically if he wants to take your car. Again, close the gate directly behind you.

It all sounds really paranoid, doesn't it? Well, unfortunately it's a war out there and to survive you need to think like a criminal.

It's so tempting to climb into your car and try to tune the world out. But it could also be the last thing you ever do.

You need always to try and reduce the odds of you being attacked.

Don't do stupid things like leaving your cellphone, briefcase or shopping parcels on your passenger seat.

If you fill up at a petrol station check to see whether the place has surveillance cameras and try to park within their range.

Don't take pamphlets from complete strangers at stop streets and robots.

Never drive with your windows down or your doors unlocked. Don't pick up hitchhikers.

Be especially aware if you find yourself in unfamilar territory, particularly if you are lost.

It all comes down to one thing; always be aware of your surroundings. Why is that car parked outside your home? Who are those guys standing next to the stop sign? Why is that guy walking up behind your car at the robot?

And what happens if your worst nightmare occurs and there's this guy standing alongside your car with a gun in his hand?

Firstly, do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker. Do exactly what you are told.

Do not try and reach for your purse or valuables. You are going to have to kiss them goodbye along with your car. This is all about survival.

Don't make any sudden movements. Especially don't drop your hands under window level. If the guy thinks you are going for a gun you are forcing him to shoot.

Don't give the guy a reason to panic and shoot. Raise your hands where the hijacker can see them.

When he tells you to get out of the car, use your left hand (always keeping it in sight) and stretch over to open the door.

The guy needs to see where your hands and feet are at all times. Then, with the door open and still using your left hand as high as possible, reach slowly down and release the safety belt.

When you step out of the car, don't come out forwards with your hands up cowboy style - that means all your vital organs are vulnerable should he shoot.

Instead, put your arms around your head and try and come out sideways.

Always try to keep your side facing the hijacker, with your arms protecting your head and vital organs.

Sure, it looks like you are cringing, but that's what he wants. And it might save your life.

Also, try never to make eye contact. Never, never try and stare the guy down. He has a 9mm bullet that says you won't win that contest.

Once you are out of the car, try and move as far away as possible, so as not to represent a threat to the hijacker.

Richard also made a comment that I personally found troubling and that made me glad I'm not a woman. If you are a woman and the hijacker wants you to go with him - refuse.

Make him make the choice right there and then whether to release you or kill you.

If you go with him you will almost certainly land up dead anyway, and it will be a horrible death.

Worse, what if there are children in the car? Here Richard makes the recommendation that you take the car keys with you (this is the only exception) and use them as a negotiating tool.

The reasoning is that the hijacker only wants the car, not the kids.

In the event of being hijacked seek counselling immediately. Never be afraid of expressing your emotions or fears.

Look to colleagues and friends for support. And never think your feelings or fears are a sign of weakness.

You've just been through a terrifying and humiliating violation. You have a right to be emotionally distraught.

Finally, always remember the two golden rules: BE AWARE and YOUR LIFE IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR CAR.
Hijacking - worth reading. - blank
Don't take pamphlets from complete strangers at stop streets and robots.

>>Who are those guys standing next to the stop sign? Why is
that guy walking up behind your car at the robot?

Interesting article, but I am confused. What on earth is a Robot (in the context of this article!!)
Hijacking - worth reading. - Ian (Cape Town)
Oh dear, knew I forgot something ...
Local traffic speak:
ROBOT = traffic light [god alone knows why...]
STOP STREETS = a hexagonal compulsory stop sign on a corner
YIELD SIGN = Give Way sign
and on a pink fluffy dice note:
JOU DOM %$#%& &**%& !! = YOU STUPID *&&%#$ @#%*&!!!
Hijacking - worth reading. - Phoenicks
Sounds like a pretty scary place Ian.

My GF and i are thinking about a holiday in SA and this might involve renting a car. Is this a good or bad idea, and where are the safe areas?
Hijacking - worth reading. - Ian (Cape Town)
Don't go to Johannesburg - it's a hole. Cape Town is great, as is the entire Garden Route.
mail me ijwill@touchline.co.za and let me know details, and I'll advise accordingly.
Hijacking - worth reading. - Phoenicks
Cheers Ian. Give me a few days and i'll certainly do that.
Hijacking - worth reading. - blank
Thanks for the translation - it all becomes clear now!

Hijacking - worth reading. - GolfR_Caravelle_S-Max
I recall stories from 1998 of an option for some cars:

ISTR it was a non-lethal flame thrower;
I suspect using it would likely result in a bullet through the window though....

Times they are a changin'....
Hijacking - worth reading. - GolfR_Caravelle_S-Max
Was it ever allowed in the end?
The carblaster?
Hijacking - worth reading. - GolfR_Caravelle_S-Max
There's a clip of it working:

Hijacking - worth reading. - Ian (Cape Town)
I think the civil-rights wallahs had a point of view...
Great idea, though!
Hijacking - worth reading. - HF
My sister and her other half jetted out to South Africa at the weekend for a fortnight, one week in Capetown and one in Johannesburg. I think they'll be hiring a car to get around, I just hope they get warned about this carjacking business. Are car-hire companies/travel companies likely to have told them?
Hijacking - worth reading. - nick
And we get uptight about 5p on a gallon..... not really a big deal is it?
Hijacking - worth reading. - No Do$h
And we get uptight about 5p on a gallon..... not really
a big deal is it?

It is a big deal if it keeps happening. We live in this country and have to deal with this country's issues. We are indeed fortunate not to have the level of crime that Ian often reports, but we aren't exactly squeaky clean either.

Relating a genuine concern about yet more swinging motoring tax increases to our good fortune in not being car-jacked seems a little trite, don't you think?

And before anyone suggests that if I don't like it, I should leave the UK, I plan to once my wife and I have the funds to leave dear old blighty. In the meantime, just to show I don't give up, I shall be voting with my wallet at the next election!

Motorists get stung in every way possible yet my every attempt to use public transport costs more, takes longer and inevitably fails. We are too densely populated to install new transport infrastructures now and sadly failed to grasp the nettle in the 50's, 60s and 70s, when we might still have had a chance to rejuvenate the rail and road systems.

Sorry Ian, I hijacked your thread there. Just getting a little fed up with every bad-news story being offered up as a reason for not getting bothered about more blinkin' tax increases.

Pass the Soma....
Hijacking - worth reading. - Ian (Cape Town)
HF, I'm sure they will.
We're NOT as black as we are painted - but there are a few dodgy spots.
Hijacking - worth reading. - nick
I'm sure you're not Ian. But the media love a good shock-horror story and whipping up an unjustified reaction. Just try reading the Daily Mail!
Hijacking - worth reading. - CMark {P}
A friend's parents-in-law were both shot dead by a car jacker outside the gates of their house in Nairobi ten years ago. The car? an old Peugeot 504.
Hijacking - worth reading. - drbe
On the same theme, but with reference to incidents in the vicinity of leafy Surrey, a particular bee that I have in my bonnet is people leaving their keys in the car when they get out of the car. So frequently we hear of people having their cars stolen at a petrol station - why - because frequntly they left the keys in the car when they went into the shop to pay. Were the owners prosecuted for aiding and abetting a crime?

Example 1. An acquintance had his BMW stolen from a garage forecourt, he had left the keys in the ignition when he went in to pay. I had already heard of the theft when he told me about it - I asked him how the thieves had managed to hotwire the car while he was paying, with a sickly grin he told me that he hadn't removed the keys.

Example 2. An incident that made the London BBC television news was of a young mother who had her car taken from a garage forecourt. She had left the keys in the car with the radio playing to keep her baby amused! The interwiewer didn't stop smiling while she was talking to the mother. Not once did she say "weren't you extremely stupid to leave your keys in the car" or "have you received a NIP". I do not condone car crime in the slightest, but surely, we all have a duty to reduce car crime whenever possible, especially by the simple expedient of removing the keys.

Regards drbe
Hijacking - worth reading. - Sooty Tailpipes
I already know somone at work's wife was carjacked (for a Vectra) by an armed man, it seems to be happening more and more here in Nottingham as it gets more 'culurally diverse'.

The car got 10 speeding tickets and was wrecked, he got it back appaulingly repaired by an Insurance company which must have nodding bulldogs doing the repairs. He also got £2k for the fact the car is recorded as stolen & recovered.
Hijacking - worth reading. - Rob the Bus {P}

Sorry for caps, but I'm just very grateful for the reassurance.

I understand that SA is very beautiful, but that some of the inhabitants spoil it.

If this thread is still running when my dear sister returns, I will post whether she found any difficulties or not.

Thanks again - her B/F originated from SA so I am hoping he knows the ropes a little better than she does.
Hijacking - worth reading. - THe Growler
Good stuff Ian. You may remember I was in a car-napping attempt about a year ago and I wrote a few notes on the subject. I was able to out-run these a******s and luckily with the F150 had enough serious bulk to ram my way out if I'd had to since s***head #1 had only an L-300 van and s***head #2 a Corolla.
I've done avoidance training and been involved in delivering it myself as part of exec security when my company used to send us to what were deemed risky postings. I recommend personal security training to everyone, whether driving or on foot, especially women. If you have it, and react in the right way, you may just be able to get the assailant on the back foot long enough to get out, since he won't be expecting that.

As ever with security, situation avoidance and target hardening are the main principles, i.e. don't get into it in the first place, and make sure you aren't an easy mark by adopting some fundamental principles.

One problem with the Philippines it is often elements of the police or the military who are the villains so they are more efficient than the usual crackheads. Carnapping to order as you say is a problem here, what often happens is that some government official just fancies a car like yours, so mobilises a few off-duty cops and pays them to relieve you of it.
Hijacking - worth reading. - nick
Hells Bells! And I worry about getting a parking ticket! Perhaps Blighty isn't such a bad place after all.

Value my car