HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR CHILD DURING A HIJACKING

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JOHANNESBURG – Facing a hijacking is a terrible ordeal in which you are likely to be overcome by fear, anxiety and horror as you face ruthless armed criminals who are threatening your life and the lives of your loved ones.

While you may want to hang onto your prized possession you’ve worked hard to buy, the experts all agree that you should let the gunmen take the vehicle if it’s going to save your life.

Several weeks ago we looked at how you can prevent being hijacked and what to do in the moments after an attack.

This week we speak to specialist trainers about what you should and shouldn’t do during a hijacking.

While the circumstances of each case may differ, below are several steps which could save your life and the lives of your children.

1.    If you’re travelling with one child, ensure they’re sitting directly behind you and NOT in the left rear seat. If you are hijacked it will be easier to help your child get of the car if they’re sitting on the right-hand side. This will save you time by not having to run around to the opposite side of the car.

2.    If you are travelling with two or more children, teach them how to loosen their seatbelts and open their doors independently if possible.

3.    If your children are old enough it’s advisable that you should disengage your child-lock system.

4.    If you have a central locking system, remember to open all doors before getting out of the car and handing the keys over to the hijacker. This will allow you to open your rear passenger doors and get your children out while the hijacker is getting into the driving seat.

5.    DON’T keep your key in your pocket (if you have a keyless start car), as the hijacker may think you are reaching for a firearm when you put your hand into your pocket to get your keys.

6.    Keep your key in the arm rest or somewhere close by. Your key is your bargaining tool which buys you time to get your child or children out while the hijacker gets into the car & starts it up.

7.    When you’re outside the vehicle try not to face the hijacker and turn your body sideways, with your shoulder facing him, where possible. This prevents your vital organs from being in the line of fire should the hijacker shoot at you.

8.    Turning your body sideways also allows you to focus on your children in the rear seats of the vehicle.

9.    Follow the hijackers instructions, remain as calm as possible and don’t interact with them unless you have to, such as making it clear what movements you’re about to make.

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World Festival to shut down Sandton streets for a month

SandtonThe movement of all private vehicles to and from the Sandton inner business district will be restricted as a result of the EcoMobility World Festival held at the Sandton Convention Centre in October, said the City of Johannesburg.

This means, all motorists will have to resort to walking, cycling, or using public transport to get to their destinations.

According to the City of Johannesburg, 70% of the traffic on Sandton streets during peak hours are private vehicles. The city aims to reduce traffic flow to accommodate the festival, as well as trying out a new system to reduce congestion in the area.

Sandton is one of the most congested areas in the country.

Johannesburg executive mayor Parks Tau meanwhile said if more people don’t switch to other methods of transport, the entire area will come to a standstill.

“If more people do not switch to public transport, walking or cycling, congestion in the CBD area of Sandton will go from bad to worse and traffic will eventually grind to a halt, creating a giant parking lot,” he said.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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South Africans turn to technology to fight crime

social media3Thanks to new social-networking apps, crime rates in Johannesburg – once the country’s crime capital – fall dramatically 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 

Residents of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, are using phone apps and social networking sites to tip police off to crimes in their neighborhoods.

South Africa has a high crime rate, with 47 murders reported a day, according to 2013/14 crime statistics released by the Police Ministry.

“We are currently using WhatsApp groups to share information with the police crime intelligence unit,” Abdurrahman Ricky, head of the Greater Mayfair Safety and Security (GMMS) group, which patrols Johannesburg’s Mayfair suburbs, told Anadolu Agency.

Ricky says his non-profit organization has been asking residents of Mayfair and surrounding districts to join their WhatsApp group and report crimes in the area.

“Many criminals have been apprehended since we started using WhatsApp and BBM messages. As a result, crime is falling tremendously in our neighborhoods,” Ricky asserted.

He said the GMSS group began using the app one year ago and was now networking with police and other security groups.

“Some members of our group are police officers and security operatives. The group has been very efficient in our community,” he said.

According to Ricky, crimes reported by community members include carjackings, burgalaries and loitering.

“Whenever we get a tipoff, we alert the police and rush to the scene,” he said.

Johannesburg resident Omar Ali believes that using the apps has helped give residents greater peace of mind.

“Our community is now connected to the various apps; it’s easier to communicate with them and report suspicious activity, thanks to technology,” he said.

Ali said his car was stolen two years ago – before the community had begun using the apps.

“If we were as vigilant as we are today, I don’t think my car would have been stolen,” he told Anadolu Agency.

CCTV

Meanwhile, the introduction of closed-circuit tevision (CCTV) cameras has helped reduce crime rates in Johannesburg’s city center, which used to be regarded as the most dangerous area in the country.

Violent muggings, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies – among other serious crimes – used to be common occurrences in Johannesburg. But since the introduction of CCTV surveillance, such crimes have fallen dramatically.

“CCTV cameras have helped the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) reduce crime in the city’s Central Business District,” JMPD Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnar told Anadolu Agency.

He said there were currently over 240 cameras covering all the streets of the city center, while the authorities were planning to install 60 more.

“The camera footage is monitored 24/7 by security operators in the control room. If they spot a crime, they alert police officers on patrol who rush to the scene,” he said.

According to Minnar, since the introduction of the CCTV cameras, there has been a decline in serious crimes like the bombing of automated cash machines (ATMs) and bank robberies.

He also said police use recorded CCTV footage to identify and prosecute criminals.

– ‘Without fear’

“The CCTV cameras have made it possible for us to go about our businesses freely without fear,” Johannesburg shop owner Mohammed Asim told Anadolu Agency. “Because we know security officers can retrieve the recorded footage and apprehend anyone who robs us.”

Yusuf Abramjee, who runs “Crime Line,” an anonymous crime tip-off service, agrees that technology is helping fight crime.

“There’s no doubt that technology is playing a major role in fighting crime in South Africa. We were the first country in the world to use SMS messaging to report crimes through anonymous tip-offs,” he told Anadolu Agency.

As a result of such anonymous tip-offs, Abramjee said, thousands of arrests had been made, while millions of rand worth of stolen goods had been recovered.

“The community has been very cooperative in giving us tip-offs to apprehend criminals and preventing crimes that would have occurred otherwise,” he added.

White Merc gang on the prowl

1632804275Johannesburg – A gang using a white Mercedes-Benz have been targeting the residents of Houghton over the past two months.

The gang of five men have been involved in numerous armed robberies and hijackings in the upmarket suburb.

Yaseen Theba, from Vision Tactical, said they had been getting reports about incidents involving the white Mercedes since the beginning of December and, on Sunday, the security company spotted the car and gave chase.

But they lost sight of it as it disappeared on Louis Botha Avenue near Alexandra. The registration number of the Mercedes is unknown.

Theba said there had been 12 sightings of the car in Houghton since December. It has a sunroof, tinted windows and LED lights on the bumper.

The gang of five wear masks and gloves. Their modus operandi is to lift up electronic gates to gain access to properties.

About three weeks ago, a man driving a white Mercedes ML stopped at an Engen service station to draw money. Shortly afterwards, on the corner of Glenhove Road and Fifth Street, he was held up. Cash and his watch were taken and the men drove off in his car, Theba said.

The car was recovered a few blocks away, and witnesses saw the gang get into a white Mercedes that was waiting for them, and drive off.

“We suspect they noticed his watch at the petrol station,” Theba added.

Last Thursday morning, the gangsters entered the house of a businessman and held him and two assistants at gunpoint. They made off with valuables and a light-metallic grey Audi Q5.

Theba said the men are well dressed, and on a few occasions, they have been seen driving around the suburb with three men and a woman in the car.

They were stopped once or twice by various security companies in the neighbourhood. The officers were told that the men were brothers and were just dropping their sister off.

“We have noticed that they aren’t stealing cellphones or iPads or any electronics that can be traced.

“They are taking cash, jewellery and watches,” Theba pointed out.

Crime Line has appealed to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the robbers to SMS 32211 or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

If the car is spotted, call 10111.

Crime Line’s Yusuf Abramjee said indications were that the robbers were well organised.

angelique.serrao@inl.co.za

White Merc gang on the prowl

1632804275Johannesburg – A gang using a white Mercedes-Benz have been targeting the residents of Houghton over the past two months.

The gang of five men have been involved in numerous armed robberies and hijackings in the upmarket suburb.

Yaseen Theba, from Vision Tactical, said they had been getting reports about incidents involving the white Mercedes since the beginning of December and, on Sunday, the security company spotted the car and gave chase.

But they lost sight of it as it disappeared on Louis Botha Avenue near Alexandra. The registration number of the Mercedes is unknown.

Theba said there had been 12 sightings of the car in Houghton since December. It has a sunroof, tinted windows and LED lights on the bumper.

The gang of five wear masks and gloves. Their modus operandi is to lift up electronic gates to gain access to properties.

About three weeks ago, a man driving a white Mercedes ML stopped at an Engen service station to draw money. Shortly afterwards, on the corner of Glenhove Road and Fifth Street, he was held up. Cash and his watch were taken and the men drove off in his car, Theba said.

The car was recovered a few blocks away, and witnesses saw the gang get into a white Mercedes that was waiting for them, and drive off.

“We suspect they noticed his watch at the petrol station,” Theba added.

Last Thursday morning, the gangsters entered the house of a businessman and held him and two assistants at gunpoint. They made off with valuables and a light-metallic grey Audi Q5.

Theba said the men are well dressed, and on a few occasions, they have been seen driving around the suburb with three men and a woman in the car.

They were stopped once or twice by various security companies in the neighbourhood. The officers were told that the men were brothers and were just dropping their sister off.

“We have noticed that they aren’t stealing cellphones or iPads or any electronics that can be traced.

“They are taking cash, jewellery and watches,” Theba pointed out.

Crime Line has appealed to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the robbers to SMS 32211 or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

If the car is spotted, call 10111.

Crime Line’s Yusuf Abramjee said indications were that the robbers were well organised.

The Star