Arrive Alive

Hijack Prevention Guidelines

Introduction:

It has become increasingly difficult to steal motor vehicles, with all the anti-theft devices, such as immobilisers, gear-locks, etc. These steps have resulted in a dramatic increase in vehicle hijackings. The hijacker has the element of surprise and this is a concern. The increasing retrenchment and the high unemployment figures are also factors. This is easy earned money and the already well-established syndicates will buy these vehicles from the hijacker. Vehicle hijacking is an organised business, run according to business principles and based on thorough planning. Specific vehicles with specific characteristics are ordered beforehand and efforts have to be made to meet the requirements of such orders. These vehicles will then be resold to the already predetermined buyer.
 
The hijacked vehicles that are not sold to buyers in South Africa, will be smuggled out of the country. These vehicles will be sold in our neighbouring countries or trade, exchanged for drugs.
 
The large number of stolen and unlicensed firearms is also a concern. Most of these firearms are bought or supplied to the robbers by the syndicates. This easy access to firearms make the robbery of a vehicle the easiest crime to commit and by far the quickest way of earning a few thousand rand.
 
It is obvious that vehicle hijackers are motivated by greed and an insatiable need for more and more comfort, rather than need. An insatiable hunger for power is another theme emerging in robbers. The power-base for the latter is presented by the access to firearms. Possession of a firearm forces everybody to obey or else face the consequences.

Definition:

Vehicle hijacking forms one of the sub-categories of armed robbery and does not constitute a different crime from armed robbery. Perpetrators would consequently be charged with “robbery with aggravating circumstances” in court, and not with “vehicle hijacking”. Robbery with aggravating circumstances can be defined as the unlawful, intentional and violent removal and appropriation of movable corporeal property belonging to another. The victim’s resistance has to be overcome and the property obtained by the use of violence against the victim’s person.
 
If the victim is first injured by the perpetrator and then dispossessed of property while being physically incapacitated, armed robbery is likewise committed. However, the victim needs not necessarily be physically incapacitated. In the absence of actual physical violence, a threat to commit violence against the victim is sufficient. The threat of violence may be of an express or implied nature. Vehicle hijacking neatly fits the above definition, with the property involved being specifically a motor vehicle of some kind.

Days of the week and time of day in which hijackings occurred:

Hijackings - Days of the week
 
The analysis indicated that hijackings occur every day of the week, reaching a high on Fridays, due to motorists being more relaxed and traffic increasing earlier on a Friday. Weekends show a lower hijacking rate due to syndicates checking their stock and placing orders on Mondays as well as the fact that there are fewer vehicles on the road. This also explains why Tuesdays and Wednesdays show more hijackings.
 
Hijackings - Times of the day
 
Hijacking of vehicles reached its lowest point at 02h00 in the morning. Hijackings are low during the night and early hours of the morning, and start increasing at 06h00 due to motorists leaving home for work and stabilises throughout the day.
 
A drastic increase occurred from 17h00 in the afternoon due to motorists heading towards home. Vehicles hijacked during this peak hour (16h00 – 20h00) may be explained by the fact that people returning from work are often tired, frustrated and not alert to potentially threatening circumstances. Negligence on behalf of the motorist could also not be excluded, e.g. an idling vehicle is left unattended to open a gate in the driveway. This trend is not new and the motorist will become the prey of hijackers.
 
Another explanation for this phenomenon is that highways are congested with traffic, which make it almost impossible to catch hijackers involved without air support once they have disappeared into traffic.

Weapons used during hijackings:

Weapons used during hijackings
 
As it was earlier indicated, in the majority of vehicle hijackings, firearms were used to commit the crime. Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal reported the highest incidence of vehicle hijacking. The circulation of illegal firearms in South Africa is disturbing and has to have a direct influence on the increase of vehicle hijackings and violent crime in general in South Africa.
 
The trade in stolen firearms is a lucrative industry in South Africa and the rewards seem to justify the risk of apprehension for the criminals involved. The punishment of crimes does not seem to have a deterrent effect on potential criminals anymore.
 
The analysis indicates that firearms most used are pistols and revolvers. A very small percentage of vehicle hijackings are committed using knifes, hands, high caliber guns and shotguns.

When to Shoot:

It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances. People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.
 

What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defense? The following points are important:

The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man. The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing.
 
In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death. This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the police and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged. If your action is within the principles of self-defense, there is nothing to worry about.

Types of hijackings:

Freight Hijacking – A commercial vehicle is hijacked not only to secure the vehicle but also its cargo, which can be of substantial value. Frequently, the cargo is of more interest to the hijacker than the truck.

 
Transport Hijacking – The vehicle is taken for the express purpose of using it as transport during other crimes such as drug dealing, burglaries, bank robberies and gun running. The vehicles are probably later cannibalised for spare parts or simply dumped.
 
Showmanship Hijacking – A gang operates out of egotistical bravado, acting on the “this is a cool thing to be doing” rationale. Peer group pressure is very high and individuals may be coerced into more dangerous and daredevil approaches; being labeled a “sissy” if they don’t. Thus intimidation, violence and vandalism are associated with the crime. Drugs and alcohol may also be a motive as theft of the victim’s personal belongings is commonplace.
 
Operational Hijacking – A group formally work together in a more structured way. They usually have experience in car theft and have established contacts within the motorcar underworld that will receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.
 
Syndicate Hijacking – The most organised of all and often has international connections. A network of hijacking groups is established with the overall coordinator, syndicating out work so that he remains out of view in exactly the same way as the drug baron uses pushers. This makes identifying and arresting the ultimate boss
very difficult. Additionally, a syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations.

Modus Operandi used by the hijackers:

HOW TO AVOID A HIJACK SITUATION:

Approaching and entering your driveway:

Parking your vehicle:

Whilst entering your vehicle and while driving, the following should be considered:

Other situations:

Information you should know:

If your vehicle is hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to the SAPS. Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, color, vehicle identification and registration numbers available to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.
 
When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details as possible.
It is important to describe the hijacker as accurately as possible. When observing a hijacker, take note of his head and face – the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose and ears. Take note of possible irregularities. Look at the hair, skin color, complexion and possible scars and tattoos. Observe the build, sex, body movement, clothing and any conversation that may take place.

Taken hostage - It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your mind should such an incident occur. It is difficult not to become paranoid about being taken hostage. However, it is just as easy to become complacent.

 
One very important fact to remember when being hijacked:
 
Should the conclusion of the drama be by way of armed intervention, and escape is not possible, immediately drop to the ground, remain still and obey the orders of the leader.

If confronted:

The Effects of Trauma:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This is the term given to a particular range and combination of reactions following trauma. Reactions following trauma can be divided into three main groups:

Five stages of trauma / loss:

The following is some general advice to help you cope with trauma in general and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in particular:

Do:

Don’t:

 

Remember that your life is worth more than your vehicle!

Content provided by:

 
For more information on the Hijack Prevention / Security Awareness Course, please contact:
 
Melinda Brussow
Cell: 073 161 2344
Tel: (012) 661-1388
Fax: 0866 317 527
Email: nhpa@hijack.co.za
Website: www.hijack.co.za
 
 
 

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