High Risks

Every year during the festive season crime rates increase.

Jared Higgins, chief executive officer of Arcfyre Group, a leading protective and risk consultation firm, gave more insight.

Referring to the attempted hijacking which happened at The Palazzo Hotel at Montecasino in Johannesburg on 3 December, Higgins said that it is clear that criminals are being smart about their crimes.

“The fact that Saturday’s incident happened in broad daylight, where there was an apparent visible security presence, just shows that criminals are taking the time to survey and assess security measures and response times. With this information, criminals are able to strategically plan their attacks and maximise their chance of a successful robbery and getaway,” said Higgins.

The South African Police Services have noted that around 40 cars are hijacked every day in South Africa and statistics show a clear increase in hijacking from 14.3 per cent from last year to this year.

Higgins added that it is vital for high net worth individuals to exercise caution, not only when entering and exiting their homes, but all over, wherever they go.

“The significant increase in hijackings has come into the spotlight and it can potentially be one of the most dangerous crimes against a person and property. It’s much easier and quicker to remove a vulnerable, frightened person from a vehicle at gunpoint than try to break into, and get away, in a parked car, especially with all the antitheft systems and immobilisers available. Plus, there is the added benefit of being able to get away with the valuables the victims have with them.”

Higgins continued that even though adrenaline might kick in to protect loved ones, resistance should be avoided. Even though it is easier said than done, the assailant should not be spooked. Thus, knowing and understanding the risks that hijacking situations bring, is the first step to reducing, controlling or completely avoiding the risk. There is merit in equipping yourself with self protection skills.

“All in all, hijackings cost individuals, families and the economy dearly. Every effort must be made to ensure personal awareness, to maintain vigilance and to not take unnecessary risks all year long and especially during the festive season.”