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Smash-and-grab attacks – they’re prevalent but you can be prepared

Between battling traffic, rushing to meetings or to pick up kids, getting in that workout or getting to date night – there’s plenty on your mind on the road, which is exactly what opportunist criminals are counting on. Fortunately, with preparation and increased vigilance, there are things you can do to help keep yourself and your family safe from smash-and-grab attacks.

Tips to prevent a smash-and-grab attack:

  1. Smash-and-grab film fitting – having this film fitted to your windows is possibly the best preventative measure as it makes it extremely difficult to shatter your windows, which in turn also helps prevent injuries from smashed glass.
  2. Open windows slightly – Leaving your passenger windows open by just three centimetres will make the glass more flexible, allowing the window to absorb the sudden impact of an attempted smash-and-grab.
  3. Keep valuables out of sight – valuables, or anything worth stealing, that’s visible on your passenger or back seat could attract the attention of potential smash-and-grab thieves. So put all your valuables, especially your handbag, in the boot or under your seat.
  4. Stay on high alert at “hot spots” – because street intersections, stop signs and driveways are regarded as smash-and-grab “hot spots” remain on full alert and avoid being distracted when approaching or stopping at one of these.
  5. Leave room to manoeuvre – when approaching an intersection, leave a reasonable stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. This will allow you room to manoeuvre and escape a dangerous situation.
  6. Keep your hand close to the hooter – when at a traffic light or stop street, if you need to alert others that you’re in trouble, this will help attract attention quickly.
  7. Go slow to get the green light – when approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green. This will avoid you becoming a sitting target.

The six golden rules to follow if confronted by a smash-and-grabber:

  • Remain calm.
  • Don’t argue.
  • Don’t make sudden gestures.
  • Avoid eye contact but try, if you can, to remember what the criminal looks like by identifying and remembering special features.
  • Comply with the smash-and-grabber’s directions (within reason).

What to do if you witness a smash-and-grab attack:

  • Alert the authorities immediately – even if you only see suspicious looking individuals at an intersection, let the authorities know.
  • Don’t confront the smash-and-grabbers – they may be armed and further confrontation could risk not only the life of the victim, but also your own.
  • Stay where you are – only leave the scene, or create distance between yourself and the smash-and-grabbers, when it is safe to do so.
  • Try to remember details for the authorities – taking note of details, like which direction the criminals escaped in, or the criminal’s facial features could help the authorities find and identify them.


Another preparative measure is to ensure that you have adequate vehicle cover and portable possessions insurance in place, so that if you do experience a smash-and-grab, the lost items can be replaced as soon as possible. Click here for a quote.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

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