Police caution motorists about hijackings

POTCHEFSTROOM - Following a number of carjacking incidents that were recently reported at various clusters within the province, police urge motorists to be cautious when travelling or stopping alongside the roads or when ordered to stop by other motorists as that could be hijacking suspects. In some instances, particularly in Mahikeng Cluster, unsuspecting motorists were stopped, robbed of their valuables and their vehicles hijacked by people who pretended to be traffic or police officials.

In an incident in Sun City in August 2019, a 29-year-old victim was stopped by two men travelling in a Ford Bantam bakkie and pretending to be asking for directions. They suddenly pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded his car keys. The suspects then drove off with the victim's silver Nissan Navara.

In another unrelated incident in August, a 27-year-old motorist was travelling between Letlhabile and Brits, when she stopped to change a flat tyre. An unidentified vehicle parked next to her and she was offered help by two men. After changing the tyre, the men slapped the woman, took her personal belongs including a cell phone and drove off in her Volkswagen Polo.

In another incident on Thursday, 05 September 2019, a 46-year-old man was pointed with a firearm and his Volkwagen Amarok hijacked on the Derby-Rustenburg road. It is alleged that the man stopped his vehicle alongside the road to relieve himself when two suspects who pretended to be asking for directions approached him. The suspects assaulted the victim, forced him into the back of his vehicle and drove off with him. The victim was allegedly dropped near Randfontein by the suspects who fled in his vehicle.

The police have also noted with concern that some motorists especially in the Brits Cluster, are defeating and / or obstructing the ends of justice by pointing wrong places than the actual crime scenes.

Motorists are requested to be vigilant and to report suspicious persons or vehicles at the nearest police stations and to apply the following safety tips as a precautionary measure:

NEVER EVER pick up or offer a lift to hitchhikers or strangers.

Avoid stopping next to the road, except for an emergency.

People stopping to relieve themselves have also fall victim of this crime.

A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable. Check your tyres regularly.

Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.

Always check the rear view mirror to see if you are being followed.

Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cell phone.

If you suspect that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or a busy public area.

When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green especially during the night.

If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.

When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.

Avoid driving through unfamiliar areas and late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.

If possible, never drive alone.

Never follow routine routes when driving, change routes on a regular basis.

If possible, avoid driving in the dark. Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate that he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest police station or any busy public area for help.

Source: South African Police Service

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