House driveway a hotspot for hijackings, survey finds
MORE than half of South Africa‘s hijackings happen in front of the victims‘ homes, a survey has found.

The Remax Real Estate survey found motorists were 10 times more likely to be hijacked in front of their houses than anywhere else.

The findings were gleaned from a poll of colleagues, and house buyers and sellers throughout the country.

“The good news is that the risk to homeowners can be reduced significantly by being aware of the surroundings,” Remax marketing and finance director Jeanne van Jaarsveldt said.

“The findings underline the importance of assisting South Africans in making their home environment safe.”

According to the survey, the other hijacking hotspots are:

  • Sitting in parked cars 10%.
  • At traffic lights 7%.
  • At stop streets and yield signs 6%.
  • At business premises 5%.
  • Being forced off the road by decoys 4%.
  • While taxis are loading passengers 4%.
  • At shops and phone booths 3%.
  • Goods off-loading zones 2%.
  • Roadside workers 2%.

Van Jaarsveldt said being cautious was the most effective way of preventing hijackings.

“You have to be familiar with your environment, get to know who belongs in the vicinity of your home, keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary, lock doors and close windows when driving off and try to vary your route to work,” she said.

Most important, was to be aware of suspect vehicles or people when approaching your driveway.

She said the health of the real estate market in South Africa hinged on a number of factors, one of them being the safety of homes and home owners.

“Prevention starts with awareness . . . (and) awareness on the part of the homeowner can reduce the risk of hijackings significantly.” Home ownership, and safety and security for each family, was a basic right of everyone in the country, she said.

Institute for Security Studies researcher Dr Johan Burger said he had not yet seen the survey, and had no idea of the methodology used or how the sample was selected.

“Based on a general analysis, I have a concern – the fact that it was done by them (a real estate company) could have influenced the outcome of the survey,” he said.

Article by: Sipho Masondo - www.theherald.co.za