CRIME ON SA'S ROADS: The annual SAPS crime statistics reveal the grim reality of SA's roads. Image: Arrive Alive
Cape Town - The South African Police Service (SAPS) has released its crime statistics for the period April 2014 - March 2015.
SAPS reports 12 773 carjackings (up from 11 180 in 2013/14) and 1279 truck hijackings (up by 288). A total of 55 090 cases of stolen vehicles and motorcycles were reported, a decrease of 2.7% from the same period in 2013/14.
The statistics for SA are grim but how can road users protect themselves?
‘Confirms our fears’
Arrive Alive editor Johan Jonck said: “The release of crime statistics by the minister of police confirms our fears of the devastating impact of crime on road safety and the safety of our road users.
“During the past year, Arrive Alive reported on numerous crashes and injuries directly related to crime. These crimes include truck and carjackings, smash –and-grabs, stone throwing, placement of obstructions in the road to cause crashes etc.”
"These crime statistics cannot be described as 'normal' nor as 'under control'."
How to deal with road crime
Arrive Alive looks at various threats on our roads and offers advice on how to protect yourself against crime.
Infographic: SA Crime Stats 2015
Arrive Alive: "The slight decline may be attributed towards increased vehicle safety mechanisms making it more difficult to steal stationary vehicles.
Infographic: Crime stats 2015
"We would like to believe that more vehicle owners are also aware and cautious of the threats of remote vehicle jamming devices.“
• Don’t walk away from your car unless you have actually heard the car lock and seen the alarm-light flicker.
• Physically check that your doors and boot are locked.
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Watch: 5 tips for staying safe on SA's roads
Theft out of or from motor vehicles
Arrive Alive: "There has been a slight increase in these crimes. This can be through vehicles unsecured, through remote jamming devices or through violent means such as smash and grabs."
• Make sure your valuables are stored away and are not visible to thieves.
• Lock all your doors and close the windows when driving - never open your windows or doors for strangers.
• Be on the lookout for suspicious people loitering at car parks and intersections.
• Be especially wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road
Driving under the Influence of alcohol and Drugs
Arrive Alive: “A very slight decline but no data as to how many roadblocks and breathalysing tests were performed. Drunk / Impaired driving remains a concern on our roads as drunk driving is most often accompanied by others violations such as speeding, reckless driving, disobeying the rules of the road and traffic signs / traffic lights etc.”
• Don’t allow your friends to drive drunk
• Be extra cautious when driving late at night or on "payday weekends"
• Slow down if you witness another driver behaving recklessly.
• Approach and proceed across intersections with caution
• Buckling-up and is the best way to protect yourself and your passengers from other reckless/drunk drivers.
Top 10 tips to stay safe on SA roads
Arrive Alive: “An alarming 14.2% increase of this violent crime means responsible vehicle ownership is critical! Apart from making the right decision and having the vehicle insured against such an eventuality there are many steps you can take to increase safety.”
• Remain extremely vigilant when approaching an intersection near your home.
• Scan the area for suspicious people and be aware of vehicles following you.
• Always drive with your doors locked and windows closed
• Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.
• Avoid driving late at night/early hours of the morning when roads are empty.
• When approaching a red traffic light lat at night, slow down and try to reach it when it turns green.
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Arrive Alive: "At 29.1%, it's the highest increase among road crimes recorded. Even though few readers may be truck drivers we would like to share some of the tips shared with fleet operators and their drivers.”
• Consider every unscheduled stop a possible assault. No matter whether it is a police road block, collision, cattle or a broken vehicle - follow “assault protocol” and prevent an attack.
• Keep your doors looked. The passenger door is the most common access point for hijackers.
• Do not pick up hitch-hikers, male or female. In a recent attack a driver was given a drink by a woman and passed out. He woke up, tied up, in the field. Five hours after his truck was taken.
• Stay in touch with your control room. If you are going to stop - tell them how long, where and what other vehicles/people are present when you stop. List number plates, if possible.
• Use your truck if you have to. If any effort is made to stop you by a light vehicle, call the police or your controller/tracking company for guidance and use your truck if you are instructed to, as a defensive tool.
• There is no way for anyone to tell you what a “real hijacker” looks like. They come in all shapes, sizes and sexes. Stay alert.
The need for defensive driving
Arrive Alive: “Vehicle related Crimes cannot be seen in isolation to other crimes. It is important to recognize that those not targeting vehicle related crimes but i.e. other property crimes such as breaking in, robbery or even murders are also sharing the roads with our road users. They often speed away from the scene of a crime and are less likely to obey the rules of the road when approaching an intersection/traffic light.
"1.7 million is the number of people arrested in 2014 – how many others were not arrested and may be sharing roads with you? With about 18 000 the total number of traffic officers having to cover 150 000km of tarred roads as well as licensing offices, administrative duties etc – we simply cannot rely on law enforcement for safer roads – we NEED to think Smart and Drive Clever to be Safe!
"Think about this before and when you drive!"It is of the utmost importance that:
• You buckle up and insist that your passengers do so as well!
• You don't assume that others will obey the rules of the road.
• You remain vigilant, alert and sober on SA's roads.
• You don’t drive recklessly. Slow down to allow time to respond to threats.