How to avoid becoming a drive-thru hijacking victim
Hijacking trends are likely to increase as the festive season approaches.
A warning has been issued after a new trend in hijacking modus operandi involves hijackers targeting customers at drive-thru restaurants. Photo for illustration: iStock
A disturbing new crime trend has emerged where unsuspecting victims are being targeted at fast food drive-thrus.
This according to Fidelity ADT spokesperson Charnel Hattingh, who told Pretoria Rekord the new modus operandi had been reported to them.
Hattingh said hijackers sandwich their target when they are already in the drive-thru queue, after which armed suspects from the vehicle in front of you get out “and attempt to hijack your vehicle”.
“The vehicle behind you blocks in your car when you try to reverse,” she explained.
She said this time of year traditionally sees an increase in opportunistic crime, with unemployment, growing inequality exacerbating an already desperate situation.
Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) reported in August that the amount of hijackings more than doubled from last year, increasing from 64 000 in 2020/21 to 134 000 in 2021/22.
Only around 63% of hijacking victims report incidents to police, StatsSA found.
Motorists tend to relax while queueing for food, and are often distracted.
The security company has offered some handy safety tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Keep your handbag/backpack in the boot of your car. Have cash or a card on hand for a quick payment.
- Try to exclusively use well-frequented establishments in well-lit areas if you are queueing for food at night.
- Visit drive-thrus at peak times when the establishment is at its busiest.
- Keep your vehicle’s windows and doors closed while waiting for your order, and regularly check your rear-view mirrors while you wait.
- If you suspect you are being targeted, press your hooter to draw other people’s attention.
“As we move closer to the festive season, this type of opportunistic crime will unfortunately be on the increase.
“Stay vigilant at all times, and don’t take chances unnecessarily,” Hattingh said.
Edited by Nica Richards.