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2018-09-27 08:55

Janine Van der Post

Image: YouTube

Hijackings are a scourge on South Africa's roads and videos of armed criminals stealing vehicles, often in broad daylight, are troubling, to say the least.

The South African Police Service has released its latest crime statistics for South Africa. Car and truck hijacking continues to plague road users; there were 16 325 carjackings and 1202 truck hijackings reported for a total of 17 527. 

SAPS reports 50 663 vehicles stolen during 2017/18.

#CrimeStats in South Africa - 2017/18

When presented with a life-threatening situation your body triggers a fight-or-flight response. We look at some examples where motorists chose to fight back against criminals and ask experts to share valuable advice for road users.

Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck said: "The motorists were very fortunate but this is not what the experts on hijacking would recommend. We cannot predict whether an armed hijacker would discharge his firearm or not, wounding or killing the driver. Guidance in such a situation would be to remain calm and rather relinquish the vehicle while protecting your own life."

1. WATCH: Brave motorcyclist foils smash-and-grab attempt in Johannesburg

On Tuesday (September 11), News24 reported on a brave motorcyclist who foiled a smash-and-grab attempt in Johannesburg while he was on his way home.

Anton Damhuis doesn't consider himself a hero even though he put his own life in danger. He said: "I just think it's wrong that people get away with this type of stuff."

Damhuis didn't sustain any injuries, however, his motorcycle was damaged.

2. Woman refuses to give in to armed criminals

A video posted earlier in August 2018, shows a female driver standing her ground against three armed men who had followed her to her home and attempted to hijack a white Jeep in her driveway. The video shows how she refused to open the doors of the 4x4, put her vehicle into reverse and slammed into the hijackers' vehicle blocking the driveway. 

READ: 'I felt sorry for the victims but I had a job to do' - Former hijackers reveal all, here's how you can protect yourself in SA

Watch the video below:

3. WATCH - CCTV footage captures the incredible moment this quick-thinking Mercedes driver gets away from armed hijackers in Joburg 

Earlier in August 2018, CCTV and dashcam footage captured the moment a driver was confronted by hijackers at gunpoint in Johannesburg.

Footage showed the driver of a silver Mercedes followed by a white Audi A4 into a parking lot. Two hijackers emerged from the Audi and signalled the female driver to exit the vehicle.

Hijacking in SA: How thieves choose their victims, cars

Incredibly, the Mercedes driver put the car into reverse and attempted to flee the hijackers. The driver is seen smashing her way past the Audi blocking the entrance.

4. WATCH: Joburg couple's quick-thinking saves them from hijacking

In August 2017, Wheels24 reported on an alert and quick-thinking couple who managed to avoid becoming victims when three men in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class attacked then in front of their home.

The couple, driving a white Land Rover Sport, pulled into their driveway and a woman can be seen exiting the 4x4. The woman, identified as Anelle Hills, according to her Facebook profile, along with her husband Roger, noticed a vehicle speeding towards them.

The woman rushed back inside the SUV as two men exited a gold-coloured Mercedes. Her husband, still in the vehicle,  promptly reversed down the road and managed to get away from the assailants. 

Pro-Active SA managing director Ryno Schutte says: "Many South Africans are fed up with crime in South Africa and there are those that choose to fight back when an incident occurs. 

"There are two sides of the coin that needs to be taken into consideration. Though bravado is lauded by many, the same bravado can backfire disastrously.

"What needs to be taken into consideration by the victim during a crime:

1. The suspects at the point of an attack, committing a crime or hijacking a victim are as nervous as the victim and “operate” on adrenaline.
2. When "operating" on adrenaline your fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. A suspect might deem the victim fighting back as a threat and retaliate, which can result in the victim being harmed or worse. If a victim is highly trained in fighting and it becomes second nature to the victim after hours of training, then fighting is a viable option. 
3. If a victim is not trained it might be the best to submit to the suspects and let them take your vehicle. At the point of not being trained, the possibility of the situation escalating can result in the victim being injured or killed in the process.
4. Your life is not worth your vehicle.

Schutte says: "As an outsider, we would like to congratulate the drivers of the vehicles for making use of the tools in their possession and getting away. We cannot say whether fighting back is the best possible option to follow as every incident is different and the results can vary with many factors that need to be considered." 

These factors can include the following:

1. Are the intentions of the suspect to harm or just to take the vehicle?
2. Are the suspects trained in the use of a firearm?
3. Are the suspects making use of real firearms?
4. Are the suspects on a timeline to deliver a specific vehicle?
5. How long have the suspects been hijacking vehicles?

Schutte says: "None of the above can be answered in the split-second it takes for a victim to make an informed decision at the time of the crime. 

"The question remains? Is your vehicle worth your life or the life of your child? If South Africans become more aware of their surroundings, they possibly might not find themselves in a situation of becoming a victim."

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