Be on alert for drive-through hijackings

Issue 6 2022 News, Security Services & Risk Management

Charnel Hattingh.

As crime and unemployment increase and we approach the festive season, hijackings and increases in opportunistic crime traditionally increase. This year, however, there is a new trend emerging. Fidelity ADT is warning of a new modus operandi where motorists are being targeted while buying food at drive-though establishments.

Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, says, “We are increasingly starting to see a concerning trend where criminals target unsuspecting patrons at drive-through establishments. Typically, as you get to the front of the queue, armed suspects from the vehicle in front of you get out and attempt to hijack your vehicle. There are usually two cars involved; the vehicle behind you blocks your car when you try to reverse.”

Motorists need to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. People tend to relax while queuing, often distracted by the task at hand and excited children.

Fidelity ADT offers the following safety tips:

• Keep your bag in the boot, have your cash and card on hand for quick payment.

• Only use well-frequented drive-throughs and avoid any retail establishments which are dimly lit or isolated at night.

• Try and only order food at peak times when patronage is at its highest.

• Keep all your windows and doors closed while waiting for your order.

• If possible, don’t take the children with you to the drive-through as they can be distracting.

• While waiting, check your rear-view mirrors and do not be distracted by music or cellphones.

• If you suspect you could be a victim of a hijacking, start pressing your hooter a number of times. Generally, hijackers do not like this kind of attention.

• If you have a panic button on your tracking device, now would be the time to activate it. Better to be safe than sorry.

• If your children are with you, the eldest child should always be seated behind the driver and the younger child to the left – both in the back seat.

• If you are hijacked while your children are in the car, climb out of the vehicle slowly and move to the back door directly behind the driver’s door. Place one foot firmly in the car, on the floor behind the driver’s seat, as you lean across to retrieve the youngest child. The eldest child will probably cling to you and you can get both children out of the car at once. Remember to stay as calm as possible.

“Remember, as we move closer to the festive season, that this type of opportunistic crime will unfortunately be on the increase. You need to stay vigilant at all times and don’t take chances unnecessarily,” concludes Hattingh.

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