Important Tips To Help You Avoid Being A Smash And Grab Victim In SA

Vision Tactical Media

Smash and grabs are a crime of opportunity, not often planned to a great degree of detail.

In recent months, motorists across Johannesburg have seen a spike in smash and grab incidents, making vulnerable motorists drive in fear, especially during peak hours.

The kind of criminal that fits this demographic is looking for low-risk, rapid returns.

Due to the nature of the criminals and the low returns involved, the same trends that were executed in smash and grabs 10 years ago are still being seen today.

The following components remain a virtual constant:

Time of day – mostly early morning or later evening and/or when traffic is at its busiest.

Busy intersections or choke points (where other people cannot react quickly or follow easily).

One or very few criminals, working together.

Here’s a few tips to help you avoid a smash and grab incident:

Physical barriers

Anything that makes the physical task of breaking the window harder or less possible (such as smash and grab “films” for windows).

Tint your windows dark – if a criminal cannot see items, he cannot target items.

Keep windows closed. An open window is an invitation – where personal items are visible.

Put everything you don’t need for driving away (under the seat, in the boot, etc).

Intellectual barriers

People should think about things like smash-and-grab incidents. This is the best way to prevent it – awareness.

Think about your route – play a “game” and see where you would be able to commit a smash and grab. Then plan to be more vigilant at those spots.

Do not allow yourself to be trapped by the “nothing has ever happened” or “it’s only a short trip” mentalities – crime happens all the time, everywhere.

Personal barriers

When an unsavoury character approaches, the fact that you see him that way should be a warning already.

Look at the movement of pedestrians. If a pedestrian seems to be moving in a pattern (direction, gait, posture, etc) that is not the same as others around him, become alert.

Many people tend to do the “dead stare” when someone comes to their window to ask for money or to sell items. Pretending not to see them is the best way to be distracted.

We all know that the more you act like you’re not looking at someone, the more you are focused on them, in any event. This is when you are at your most vulnerable.

When someone approached you and wants to offer or beg, look directly at them, bring up your hand, palm facing them, and physically say “no, thank you” and then immediately look around at your environment.

If they persist, keep looking around and keep repeating “No”. Press your hooter, if you feel harassed. This is the best way to deter would-be criminals.

Tactical barriers

If you are alone, never park so close to the vehicle in front of you that you have no space to escape or move if you need to.

A good idea is to park in such a position so as to be able to see the bottom of the wheels of the vehicle in front of you. This will place you in a position to have at least some room to move, should anything happen.

If you are traveling alone, keep something like pepper spray close and handy.

If you expect it, you can detect an approach early enough to prevent being a total victim.

If we know how smash-and-grab incidents happen, we should be able to predict, detect, or prevent it.

Be safe!

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