Following the recent M1 smash and grab near Smith Street in JHB, here is what you need to know to avoid a smash-and-grab incident…
Smash-and-grab attacks, like we see in a viral video of this incident that took place on the M1 near Smith Street, demand immediate and effective action. According to Casey Rousseau, marketing manager of 1st for Women Insurance: “Although authorities are taking several steps to combat smash-and-grab incidents, it is up to you, the motorist to avoid becoming a victim by remaining as thoroughly prepared, vigilant and alert as possible.”
1st for Women Insurance provides some tips to prevent a smash-and-grab attack:
1. Leave your passenger windows open by about three centimetres to make the glass more flexible, allowing the window to absorb the sudden impact of an attempted smash-and-grab.
2. It is advisable not to leave any valuables, or anything at all worth stealing, visible on your passenger or back seat. By doing this you are attracting the attention of potential smash-and-grab thieves. Keep your handbag stored in the boot or under your seat.
3. Street intersections, stop signs or driveways are regarded as smash and grab “hot spots” at any given time. Always remain on full alert when stationary in your vehicle and avoid being distracted.
4. When you approach an intersection, leave a reasonable stopping distance between you and the car in front of you to allow yourself room to manoeuvre and escape any dangerous situation.
5. Keep your hand close to the hooter when you are at a traffic light or stop street, if you need to alert others that you are in trouble.
6. When approaching a red traffic light at night, it is better to slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
7. Possibly the best smash-and-grab preventative measure is to have anti smash-and-grab film fitted to your windows. The film makes it extremely difficult to shatter your windows and it also reduces glare. In addition, the film reduces the chance of injury from broken glass.
There are also six golden rules to follow if you are confronted by a smash-and-grabber:
* Remain calm.
* Do not argue.
* Do not make sudden gestures.
* Avoid eye contact but try to remember what the criminal looked like by identifying and remembering special features.
* Comply with the smash-and-grabber’s directions (within reason).
* Don’t be a hero – your life is worth more than your cellphone or handbag.
If you are a witness to a smash-and-grab attack:
Do not confront the smash-and-grabbers, as they may be armed and further confrontation could risk not only the life of the victim, but also your own.
Stay where you are and only leave the scene, or create more distance between yourself and the smash-and-grabbers, when it is safe to do so.
Try to remember details or features that could help the authorities to find and identify the criminals, including the direction they escaped in.
Immediately alert the authorities, even if you only see suspicious looking individuals at an intersection.
“Always remember that your life is more valuable than any of your possessions”, Rousseau concludes. “It’s also wise to make sure that you have adequate vehicle and portable possessions insurance in place, to ensure that the lost items can be replaced as soon as possible.”