How to prevent car-jamming
You have seen the signs as you drive your car into the parking garage at your local mall: Car-jamming is a reality. Make sure your car is locked.
Unfortunately, car-jamming has become a hard and fast reality in South Africa, with convicted car-jammers informing the police that they can earn up to R15 000 a week. How can you make sure that you're not another victim?
Car-jamming is the use of a remote control unit to override the locking function of your remote control as you leave your car. As a result, you unknowingly walk away leaving your car unlocked and your alarm off. When you come back, all your valuable possessions have been stolen from your car or the car itself has been stolen.
On the upside, car-jamming is easy to thwart - you simply have to be attentive. When you press your remote control button, make sure that you hear the beep of your alarm activating and see or hear the locks clicking into place. The police even advise that you check your door handle before leaving the car. The extra seconds of inconvenience could save you hours of admin, thousands of rands and loads of heartache.
General safety tips
Car-jamming isn't the only risk to your parked car. Here are some other tips to keep your car and your family safe when you're out:
- Put valuable possessions like laptops or gym bags in the boot of your car at home or the office before you drive somewhere else. Stowing them after you have parked at your destination is simply advertising what valuables you have.
- Don't leave any valuables visible in your car when you park it. Put them in your handbag, the cubby hole or under the seats.
- Don't leave bills that provide your home address in your car.
- Don't leave the remote control that opens your electric gate at home in your car.
- Always park in a well-lit, well-populated area. Don't grab a convenient space that's out of sight from the rest of the parking garage or street.
- If you have any concerns at all about going back to your car after you have been to the shops or a meeting, ask a security guard to accompany you.
- Always get your keys ready before you approach your car so that there are no extra delays when you are the easiest target for criminals.
- If you have young children who still need you to strap them in, be extra vigilant about all of these points, because you're particularly vulnerable while you stand beside an unlocked vehicle. Many malls now provide parent-and-child parking spaces near an entrance. Use these.
- And, of course, don't forget about car-jamming!
There's no denying that car owners are frequent victims of crime in South Africa. But, in many cases, by simply being vigilant and cautious, you can protect your possessions and ensure your safety!