How to avoid being a 'smash-and-grab' victim 101

Following last week's incident where a smash-and-grab on the corner of Cambridge and Witkoppen Roads in Sandton was captured on video, we've put together a short list of what you can do to avoid being a victim.

The video in question was shared on Youtube by Craig Jennings, it was shot from his dashboard camera on Thursday last week.

What is a smash and grab?

A smash and grab is usually characterized by the criminal smashing through a vehicle window while the car is stationary at traffic lights or stuck in slow moving traffic and grabbing something of value (jackets, handbags, laptops, cellphones etc).

Smash and grab culprits usually play on the element of speed and surprise; violently 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 could be stolen?

Items targeted include:

  • Purses, hand bags and wallets
  • Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks
  • Shopping bags
  • Cell phones, MP3 players and tablets
  • Loose change and CDs

How can you avoid being a victim of a smash and grab?

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

*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.

  • 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.

*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.

The EWN has collated your experiences and created a map that shows the smash-and-grab hot spots around Gauteng:


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