Smash your chances of being a victim

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Within seconds your window lies shattered next to you and your valuables have all disappeared.

‘Smash-and-Grabbers’ work swiftly and quickly and are usually gone before you realise what is happening.

The crafty criminals that specialise in smash-and-grabs are very aware of their surroundings and choose their victims quite meticulously. They tend to target female or single drivers with belongings on the passenger seat. If they see you are distracted, whether with a cell phone or a cigarette, they consider you to be more vulnerable and you are more likely to be targeted. Cars parked in areas with low foot traffic and with valuables visible are also considered easy-pickings.

Here are a few smash-and-grab hotspots where you should be on the lookout:

Pretoria

  • Pretoria Central.
  • Pretoria Road.
  • Eeufees Road.
  • Corner Garsfontein Road and N1 Freeway.
  • Corner Garsfontein Rd and Philadelphia Road.
  • Corner Cussonia Ave and Meiring Naude Road.
  • Watermeyer/N4.

Johannesburg

  • Corner Boeing and William Nicol Bedfordview.
  • Corner William Nicol Drive and Main Road.
  • Corner Joe Slovo Drive and Abel.
  • The bridge at the intersection of Bowling and Witkoppen.
  • The Grayston on ramp and off ramp in Sandton.

Cape Town

  • Jakes Gerwel Drive.
  • Kromboom Road.
  • Jan Smuts Drive.

Durban

  • N2-M41 intersection coming off the N2
  • The southern freeway as you approach the Victoria Embankment in the Durban city centre.
  • The intersection of South Coast Road and Grimsby.
  • The N2-Inanda intersection on both sides of the bridge and the traffic lights near the Engen garage in Riverside Road.

Here are the king’s top tips to try to avoid smash-and-grabs:

  • Lock all doors and close all your windows. We know this seems pointless if they’re just going to break your window anyway, but you don’t want to make it any easier for them either.
  • Put your belongings away. And when we say away, we mean away-away. Stashing your valuables under your seat won’t do the trick anymore. They know about and are able to reach that hiding place. The safest place to put your valuables is in the boot.
  • Try not to open your window to speak to vendors or collect flyers. This is often used as a distraction and before you know it your valuables are gone.
  • Be on high alert at stops, intersections and in heavy traffic. These are usually extremely high-risk zones.
  • Never get out of your car to move an object in the road. Rather try to drive around it.
  • Slow down when approaching a red traffic light at night, so that you can drift through it when it changes green, without stopping. This just ensures that you aren’t a sitting duck at the robot in the dead of night.
  • Try to leave at least 2 or 3 gaps in between yourself and the car in front of you. It’s always better to have an exit strategy

Becoming a smash-and-grab victim is certain to ruin anyone’s day. So be aware, be alert and stay safe on the roads.