Unfortunately in South Africa many motorists become victims of vehicle smash and grab crimes and the sad reality is that it is a real threat to our commuters.
Smash and grab incidences play on elements of speed and surprise. What happens is when vehicles are stationary at traffic lights or when there is slow moving traffic due to congestion, opportunists will smash the passenger side windows. Due to the short paralysis experienced by the driver allows enough time for the thieves to grab something of value from your car. These car burglaries can be costly, from the cost of repairs to the vehicles and windows and replacing stolen belongings. In most cases the victims are likely to be traumatised and feel victimised for a long time.
The best way to prevent such an occurrence happening to you is to become more vigilant and cautious as to what is happening around you. Prevention is better than cure and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Here are some hints and tips to help prevent you becoming a victim of smash ‘n grab:
- Keep all doors locked at all times.
- Always be on the alert as to what is happening around you when driving. Criminals will tend to go for motorists who are on their cell phones and are not paying attention. Be on a constant lookout for suspicious characters.
- Ensure that your valuables are hidden away. You become a target if thieves are able to see your valuables from outside the vehicle. Store such items in the boot of your car.
- If there are obstacles in the road such as rocks do not get out of your vehicle to remove them. In many cases thieves are hiding and waiting for you to get out of your vehicle so that they can steal your belongings.
- Be on the lookout and always be wary of people hanging around intersections. Avoid getting into discussions with vendors or people handing out flyers. These people may be innocent but the criminals will wait for such opportunities due to distraction.
- When driving at night and approaching a red light, slow down well in advance. This allows you to try and reach the light when it turns green. Also drive in the middle lane if possible as perpetrators like to hide in the bushes next to the side of the road.
- Leave a space between yourself and the car in front of you when stopping. This will give you a chance to escape should anything happen.
- Fit your windows with a protective smash and grab film. This is a protective film pasted on vehicle windows to help prevent smash and grab incidents. These are usually tinted which prevents people from seeing what is in your car and also prevents your window from smashing into small pieces. This will give you that extra protection and those couple of extra seconds to regain your thoughts and drive away.
- If you don’t have smash and grab protective film installed, leave your window slightly open (approximately 3cm but no more than 5cm). This prevents the glass from shattering when struck by a sharp object.
Please be vigilant and be safe out there !