Smash – and – grab

Currently smash – and – grab is a phrase most motorist know and unfortunately many have experienced personally.  A smash and grab incident can turn a pleasant drive into a nightmare when perpetrators pounce on unsuspecting motorist. No matter what has been stolen it can be a very traumatising incident for all motorist. It is heart-rending to say that smash and grab is still very much an everyday crime, despite the best efforts of the different cities to identify hot spots.  These smash – and – grab incident can be pricey, from the cost of repairs to the vehicle and windows to replacing your belongings.

The perpetrators are most often after the following items.

  • Cell phones, tablets
  • Purses, handbags, wallet
  • Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks

Whilst the above is the most “popular” commodity, there is many other items which could potentially make you a target. It is best to keep your valuables in the locked compartments, out of sight and to keep your seats clear to not entice criminals.  They “prey” mostly on single drivers with belongings on the passenger seat and or back seat. They tend to focus on female drivers as they are less likely to chase after them. They also go after distracted drivers, who is busy on their cell phones etc. They operate most often in areas where they know traffic is very congested most days.  Vehicles left unattended with valuables in plain sight makes for easy targets.

How to protect yourself from become a possible victim of smash – and – grabs:

  • Know the hot spots: It is not always possible to avoid “hot-spots” as they are most likely part of your commute to and from work, however knowing you are in the “hot-spot” zone could protect you from becoming a target.  This link will take you to South Africa’s worst smash and grab hotspots:
  • Lock your doors and close windows when you are in a known hot spot.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious looking characters.
  • Always be conscious of your surroundings – stay alert.
  • If you encounter obstacles in the road do not get out of the vehicle to remove them, if possible, reverse and drive off in the opposite direction.
  • If its late at night, try to slow down before the traffic light so that it can change green so that you do not have to come to a dead stop.
  • Protective safety film is pasted on vehicle windows and is usually tinted so that no one can see into the car, while also preventing the windows from shattering. While the glass breaks, the film holds the pieces in place, which further protects you from broken glass. Although smash – and – grab film may not prevent smash – and – grab incidents from taking place, it will give you a few extra minutes to recompose yourself and drive away safely.

The cautious driver will be able to prevent most incidents of smash – and – grab. If there is nothing to grab there is no reason for the window to be smashed! Trust your instincts. If you see suspicious activity, find somewhere else to park. We would like to urge motorists to report suspicious activity to the proper authorities – you can help prevent others from becoming a victim of a smash-and-grab or another crime!

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)