Bullhorns Safety Tip : How to Avoid Follow-Home Attacks
Follow-homes crimes are the fastest-growing type of crime on members of the public in South Africa. These are where criminals follow you home, often from a mall or bank after seeing signs of wealth such as expensive jewellery or cash withdrawals, and attack you on your driveway. These can be particularly frightening because you may have children in the car and there’s also a risk they enter your property.
•Create a mental “flag”. Select a location that you drive past on your way home and train yourself to use that as a reminder to do some anti-follow home checks (see below) every time you go past it. Pretty soon this will become automatic.
•As you make the last few turns to your home, see if the same car is following you. If you think they are, keep moving but do a loop around a block. If they were following you, this will tell them you’ve spotted them.
•If someone is behind you as you drive down your street and you are suspicious, indicate and stop a hundred meters before your house (without turning into a driveway so you can keep moving forward if you want) and allow them to pass.
•Don’t turn into your driveway until the way is clear, for example, your garage is open. You are most vulnerable when you’ve turned in but can’t go forward because criminals can pull up behind and trap you.
•If you believe someone is following you and you’re worried about a car-jacking, keep moving and drive to a public area where there’s likely to be CCTV cameras and/or controlled entry and exit, for example, a petrol station, paid parking or a SAPS station.
•If you have to get out of your car to open your garage, keep your engine running unless you have children in the car in which case the keys are a useful negotiating tool – “I’ll give you the keys when my children are out of the car”.
•Try to stay calm. Practice in your mind how you want to react in these circumstances so hopefully, your body can go into auto-pilot if it were ever to happen.