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Stay safe with these smash-and-grab prevention tips

"Arrive Alive says if there is nothing to grab, there is no reason for the window to be smashed."

“A smash-and-grab incident turns a pleasant drive into a nightmare when criminals pounce on unsuspecting drivers. Arrive Alive provided an in-depth explanation of smash-and-grabs, who are at risk and the ways to prevent being a victim.

A smash-and-grab usually plays on the element of speed and surprise. The violent smashing of the window at the passenger side places the motorist in a few moments of silent paralysis, just enough to get hold of the valuables and flee the scene.

What is being targeted?

The thieves are usually after valuables which they can easily identify from outside the vehicle and sell as easily once removed from the possession of the motorists. Items targeted include:

• Purses, handbags and wallets

• Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks

• Shopping bags

• Cell phones, MP3 players and tablets

• Loose change and CDs

• Keys.

Advice on preventing smash-and-grabs

Even though it is not always possible to avoid the so-called ‘hotspots’ where these criminals prey on unsuspecting motorists, it is possible to reduce the risk of becoming a smash-and-grab the victim – motorists can make these burglaries more difficult.

According to Arrive Alive, smash-and-grab car burglars don’t want difficult challenges and would rather prefer to move on when they suspect hurdles to the swift execution of these crimes.

They have advised the following measures:

Safe driving

  • Lock all your doors and close the windows when driving. Never open vehicle windows or doors for strangers.

  • Avoid opening your windows or getting involved in discussions with street vendors or anyone handing out flyers.

  • Constantly be on the lookout for suspicious-looking characters.

  • Always be conscious of your surroundings and remain alert when coming to an intersection or stopping your vehicle.

  • Be wary of people standing at intersections – they may be innocent but perpetrators mix with these people while waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

  • If you encounter obstacles such as rocks or tyres, do not get out of your vehicle to remove them – immediately reverse and drive off in the opposite direction.

  • When driving late at night, slow down well in advance so that the light changes green by the time you reach the intersection.

  • Leave a gap between you and the car in front of you to give you room to escape (i.e. drive away from the scene), if anything should happen.

  • Be especially wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road. If the pieces of glass are still scattered across the road, chances are that a smash-and-grab occurred just recently.

Taking away the attraction

  • Reduce the chances of becoming a target by removing that which the criminals are trying to get their hands on.

  • Smash-and-grab car burglars aren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Many simply act on impulse.

  • Don’t have bags, cellular phones, briefcases or other valuables visible inside the vehicle – valuables only attract thieves who may break your car window.

  • Hide your valuables – car floors, dashboards and seats are not good places to leave items.

  • If you can’t take valuable items with you, hide them out of sight in your trunk.

Safety when parking

  • Thieves target car parks. Always park your car in attended parking lots.

  • When parking at night ensures that you always park in a well-lit area.

  • Keep your car visible. Thieves do not want witnesses – you can help prevent a smash-and-grab by parking your car in crowded areas near pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

  • Never sit in your vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings.

  • Lock your doors and roll up your windows when you park.

  • Activate your security system.

  • Consider window tinting (if permitted by local laws).

  • Avoid using the console or glove box as mobile lockboxes.

  • Leaving your key on the dash or in the ignition is an invitation to a burglar. And keep in mind that if you have a great hiding place for a spare key (in your wheel well or above your sun visor), a thief has thought of it, too.

  • Stow your belongings like shopping bags and laptops in the trunk before you get to the parking area.

Arrive Alive concluded that if there is nothing to grab, there is no reason for the window to be smashed.”

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