THE national crime statistics for the 2019/2020 period, released by Police Minister, Bheki Cele, revealed car hijackings were up 13.3%, with truck hijackings up by 1.7%.
Between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, 18 162 motorists were hijacking victims, while 2 384 truck drivers suffered a similar fate.
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Managing director of Master Drive, Eugene Herbert has urged drivers to take note of these statistics.
‘It is particularly concerning in the Covid-19 environment, as crime is only expected to get worse as the unemployment rate grows.’
Herbert warned against complacency, particular where lockdown has changed a motorist’s routine.
‘During the coming months, we strongly advise motorists to step up their vigilance.’
He said that job losses and fewer opportunities may result in people becoming desperate for an alternative source of income.
The result is that opportunistic crimes are likely to increase.
‘Those turning to crime as a result of desperation are not career criminals, but likely to seize an opportunity when they see it. This creates quite a volatile situation as the hijacker is likely nervous and may act rashly.
‘If you do find yourself in this situation, rather comply, and do not make them more nervous.’
For those who sanitise hands on entering the car, Herbert warned to check surroundings before getting in.
‘If you feel unsettled, rather sanitise when you arrive home,’ he advised. ‘If you avoid habits such as touching your face, you can safely delay hand sanitising until you arrive at home.
‘Just remember to sanitise the car as well, so that there is no viral spread to the steering wheel, seat belt and gear stick among other spots.
‘Prioritise awareness – by doing this, you could potentially avoid becoming a victim and protect yourself from harm.’
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