Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - Wet cement thrown at cars, tap-tap and drivers placing themselves at risk at known hot spots are just some of the new trends emerging which lead to hijackings and armed robberies on highways across the city.

Metro police spokesperson sergeant Ruth Solomons said the crime on the N2 and R300 was a growing concern.

“We are in meetings to discuss ways to make the highways safer. We constantly have officers patrolling there.

“While hijacking is an issue, robberies are a major concern.

“They obstruct the roadway and damage your car to get you to stop. They then proceed to rob the motorists.

“However, if the car is still drivable they will take the car,” said Solomons.

In a surprising twist, Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith said about 90% of the accidents or incidents which occurred on the roads were self-inflicted.

Other methods include would-be robbers faking injury and throwing stones at passing cars in order to get drivers to stop and making it easier for them to pounce.

In a recent attempted hijacking incident, which caused a nationwide outcry on social media, a Centurion motorist had wet cement thrown onto his car causing him to stop.

“I would like to make everyone aware of what seems to be the new trend for hijacking. When I stopped to try to clear the windscreen there were six men that came out of nowhere started running towards the car, luckily for my safety, I was able to get away fast enough. Everyone be on the lookout and don’t stop if this happens to you. Keep going,” Schalk Jacobsz posted on Facebook.

The N2 and R300 have also been under the spotlight after 11 stonings and four armed robberies were reported to metro police over the past three months.

A warning about the tap-tap method used to hijack motorists has also been circulated on social media. In this method, perpetrators are said to drive behind a car and slightly bump the rear end of the car. This would send alarm bells off and motorists would usually get out of their car to assess the damage and in the process become a victim of a hijacking.

Metro police officers held 334 joint operations from April to June on the N1, N2, N7, R300, M9 and R102 highways to help reduce crime on the roads.

About five months ago metro police officers were shot and injured when they came to the aid of a motorist who drove over items placed on the road. The driver was also shot during this incident.

A month later, officers were again shot at and fortunately not injured when they came to the aid of a motorist that drove over debris placed in the roadway. Solomons said while patrolling the N2 and the R300 daily, officers have been removing concrete slabs, debris and tyres from the roadway.

Debris is used by criminals to cause serious accidents or damage to passing vehicles which leads to the drivers having to pull over to the side of the road and this creates an opportunity for motorists to be robbed with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm that may be fatal.

“Officers have gone the extra mile by removing the items completely from the location to their bases to eliminate the opportunity for perpetrators to place it back in the roadway to commit crime,” said Solomons.

Between April and June 22 abandoned vehicles were found on the N2 and R300, some of which Solomons said were stolen.

Metro police have responded to 124 calls for help between April and June on the N2 and R300.

Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager, at Fidelity ADT said in the event of a hijacking, the first and golden rule is to not antagonise the hijackers.

“You need to show them you are not a threat. Raise your arms to show you have no weapon and will surrender.

“Use your left arm to undo your seatbelt and put your car in neutral.

Do not turn off your car, and get out slowly. Try and angle your body sideways so you are not facing a firearm head-on. Also, remember to protect your head with your arms,” said Hattingh.

Weekend Argus