Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What do to in the Event of a Carjacking

This warning came from the UN Department of Safety and Security for residents in Egypt. Car jacking and attempted theft are on the rise at the moment. Below are some very important tips on what you can do to avoid a car jacking, or in the event that you fall victim, how you are most likely to come away from the situation unscathed.

Unfortunately there are a significant number of reports of armed carjackings in Egypt. These incidents are not confined to the desert highways but also occur on the main roads in Cairo. They are also not confined to night time hours – but now at any time during the day time. Primarily the hijackers are targeting four wheel drive vehicles or luxury sedans. Sometimes they are ransomed back to the owner, sometimes they are sold on for other purposes. In the vast majority of cases the occupants of the vehicle are unharmed. The carjackings are not usually targeted at any group or individual or organisation – they just want the car.

An incident of a carjacking this morning in Mohandessin affected one of us and occurred in daylight in a busy main street. It is important for you to understand how to respond in a carjacking incident so the following provides some guidance that may help prevent this from happening again.

Usual Methods of Carjacking

• A staged accident at the side of the road and attempts to flag you down to assist,
• A staged accident in traffic where a vehicle may bump you in order to get you to stop,
• Blocking your driveway as you wait for a gate to open,
• A vehicle with two or more occupants following you in traffic and attempting to get you to stop by using the car horn or flashing lights,
• Shooting at the tyres of your vehicle.

Preventive Actions

• Don’t stop at an accident if it looks at all suspicious. Keep driving and use your mobile phone to summon for help from emergency responders.
• If you must stop because you are the victim in a vehicle accident then do so in a public crowded area even if you have to drive a little further.
• Phone ahead to security guards (if you have them) or a family member to ensure your gate is open as you arrive.
• Try not to stop AT ALL for someone who tails you on the road and uses horns or lights to try to flag you down. It is possible that after a time they will give up their attempts once you have driven past their area of operation or into a more public and well lit location. This has worked as an effective strategy for one of our staff members.
• BUT, if you hear a gun shot or see weapons then STOP. This means they seriously want YOUR vehicle. It is a complete judgement call if you decide to take action to evade possible attackers but often this does not turn out well.
• Keep your windows and car doors locked at all times. This helps to prevent an incident if you are stopped in traffic for any reason.
• Use your side and rear view mirrors to check vehicles around you. Be aware of your surroundings and traffic patterns.
• When driving keep your distance from other vehicles so that you have room to escape or manouvre in traffic if you need to.
• Avoid unnecessary travel after dark
• Keep your emergency numbers up to date in your mobile phone and record them so they are quickly available. The number to dial in Egypt is 122 to report an emergency or call for help.

Actions in the Event you are being Carjacked

• Always assume there are weapons involved.
• If there is no escape – STOP.
• Breathe and keep calm.
• Keep your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight.
• No sudden movements – take your seat belt off only when the attackers know what you are doing.
• Do not look at the carjackers in their eyes – this could be taken as an act of aggression.
• Respond in a non-confrontational manner.
• It is always best not to resist and to give the attackers what they want.
• The main objective is to get away safely.

After being Carjacked

• Get to a safe place before reporting the incident.
• Report immediately to the police and your security focal point or DSS.
• Try to remember the details of the attackers – what they were wearing, how many of them, accent, vehicle they were driving – whatever facts you can remember will be useful.
• Talk the incident through with relatives or friends. This helps to alleviate the stress of the event.

Remember these incidents are seemingly random – there is no particular pattern and no specific road of particular vulnerability any more – except to say that the incidents have mostly occurred on major thoroughfares.

Please share this advisory with your family and take precautions for your safety.

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