How to avoid being hijacked at a petrol station

Hijackings and robberies at petrol stations throughout Gauteng are on the increase. Police and other industry players have warned motorists to be more alert.

According to research compiled by the Institute for Security Studies, hijackings in South Africa have increased by 55 per cent in the past four years with at least 40 hijackings daily. Gauteng is a hotspot for vehicle theft and hijackings, with almost two out of three incidents taking place here.

Family of four hijacked at petrol station in Bryanston

Director of the South African Petroleum Retail Association, Vishal Premlall, confirmed the worrying trend of petrol stations being increasingly targeted as hotspots for hijackings and warned motorists to be alert. Premlall said it was important for motorists to understand that most petrol stations were not equipped to manage this risk and attendants were unarmed.

Fidelity ADT community development manager, Linda Reeder, said it was important for motorists to plan routes carefully, so they did not need to stop in high-risk areas to fill up. “Ideally choose three preferred suppliers along your daily routes and make sure you change your routes regularly,” said Reeder. She added that it was not advisable to fill up in the early morning or late evening.

Fidelity ADT community development manager Linda Reeder shares tips on how to avoid being hijacked or robbed at a petrol station.

“A petrol station is not a place to let your guard down. Stopping to re-fuel your car is definitely not the time to stop and make calls or check your phone for messages. It is an open invitation that says, ‘I have a cellphone if anybody is interested’. Windows need to be closed at all times and your boot should also be locked.

She added that a favourite tactic was for someone to come to your window and while they were speaking to you, another person comes around your car and opens your passenger door.

VIDEO: Suspects rob motorist at a petrol station in Illovo

Reeder said you must ensure you were aware of your surroundings and have a back-up plan in mind in case of an emergency. “Act in a way that you would if you know you are being watched, because you probably are being watched.”


Sarah Koning

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