Increase in carjackings noted in Umlazi, prevention tips issued

Police are working hard to eradicate theft of vehicles in the township, but comparatively, the number of carjacking cases have increased over the months.

Communications officer of the Umlazi SAPS, Cpt C Rhynes, said that stationary cars are not only targets of these thieves, but mobile cars as well, which is believed to be caused by the effective technology in vehicles that make it more difficult to steal a stationary vehicle.

It is much simpler to force the driver out of a running vehicle during a hijacking, but the alarming part is that the threat, is life threatening.

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“We appeal to the community to be vigilant and to take note that most of the Umlazi carjackings occur when members of the public sit in their cars in a street entertaining or chatting with friends,” she said.

Police are appealing to the public to be careful and to adhere to the tips provided:
• If approached by a stranger while in your vehicle, drive off if possible or use your hooter to attract attention.
• Lock doors, close windows and do not have bags or briefcases visible in the vehicle. Use the boot for this. Cellphones should also not be visible. Sometimes these hijackings take place for the goods in your car and not the car itself.
• When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you can only reach it when it turns green.
• Make sure you are not followed. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station, or any busy public area.
• If you encounter obstacles in the road, eg. rocks, tyres, do not get out of the car to remove them. Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.
• Do not stop to rest or eat on deserted roads.
• Do not leave your vehicle unattended at a filling station.
• Do not sit in quiet roads or streets chatting to friends or girlfriend in your car.
• When stopped in traffic, keep a safe distance between the vehicles in front of you, so you can pull away easily if necessary.
• Do not speak on your cellphone whilst driving and be aware of your surroundings.