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Preventing Smash and Grab

Avoid becoming a victim

Criminals have taken to pouncing on unsuspecting motorists through “Smash-and- Grab”, breaking a window in order to gain access to any valuables in a vehicle. Perpetrators have the element of surprise to their advantage, stunning their victim with the unsuspected smash, leaving them enough time to grab any valuables.

These thieves target valuable items such as cellphones, handbags, wallets, purses, laptops, shopping bags, keys etc. Drivers are most at risk the when the presence of these items is on display. Single and female drivers are also the most at risk as they are an easy target that perpetrators believe won’t chase them. However, if you are distracted, like talking on your cellphone or tuning the radio, you too become an easy target.

Places where you are more of a target include areas congested with traffic as this makes it easier for the thief to smash a window while you are stationary and thereafter run away without fear or being chased after or run after. Thieves also work in teams or pairs sometimes in order to distract motorists. For example, a thief will pose as a vendor or someone handing out flyers to horde your attention, while another thief will get ready to Smash-and-Grab your car. Sometimes objects are placed in the road, forcing a motorist to get out and move them. This leaves the car and your possessions vulnerable to robbery. Motorists should never make the mistake of leaving their cars, rather change route or drive around if you can.

However, a Smash-and-Grab is a very preventable crime if motorists can become aware of the following methods, making the crime a difficult and thus undesirable task:

  • Lock all doors and close all windows.
  • Put your belongings away, in the boot is preferable. Do not leave things lying on the dash or on car seats or floors.
  • Avoid opening your window to speak to vendors or collect flyers
  • Be aware at stops, intersections and in heavy traffic, these are high-risk zones.
  • Do not get out to move an object in the road.
  • At night slow down when approaching a red traffic light so that you can drift through it without stopping when it changes green.
  • Try to leave gaps in between yourself and the car in front of you.

Thieves also target unattended parked cars. The best way to ensure that your vehicle is less of a risk if to think and do the following things:

  • Park your vehicle in high traffic areas that are well lit. Make sure there are many people who would walk past if possible. Thieves do not like areas where there could be witnesses.
  • Do not sit in your parked car for longer than you need to, you make yourself a target.

Lastly, one of the latest methods in preventing Smash-and-Grab are tinting one’s car windows with film. This protective safety film won’t prevent someone from trying to attempt Smash-and-Grab, but it will limit visibility into the vehicle, eliminating the desire to steal the valuables.

The film will also prevent glass from shattering in the event of a smash. This will prevent shards of glass from flying all over you. Rather they remain intact just cracked and held together by the film. This should give you time to recompose yourself and try make an escape.

However, if you don’t have film on your windows, leaving your window about 3cm open will make it more flexible and thus less prone to shattering in an event like a Smash-and-Grab.

If you are a smart driver, by not flaunting your belongings, the occurrence of a Smash-and-Grab should be minimised. However, someone stealing from you is never your fault and can never be predicted, but if you follow some of the above mentioned hints and tips you can severely decrease your chances of becoming a victim to this crime.