ALERT: OR Tambo warns passengers of 'follow-home' crime issue

2017-06-19 13:04 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town – Travellers are being warned to be vigilant as crime in and around the airport, including tailing of those leaving the airport, is cause for concern following a recent attack on a couple.

According to an IOL report, a coupled from the Democratic Republic of Congo took an Uber taxi shortly after landing at OR Tambo International Airport at the weekend - only to be followed and robbed outside their hotel. 

The couple reportedly resisted handing over their belongs and were shot and wounded during the incident.  

SEE: Uber adds safety insurance and claims partner protection to all rides in SA

OR Tambo International Airport issued a statement on Monday 19 June saying it is well "aware of and concerned about incidents of crime in the vicinity of the airport and against people followed to their destinations from the airport".

“The safety and security of passengers and visitors to OR Tambo International Airport remains of paramount importance to airport management. We are therefore particularly concerned by the latest occurrence of follow-home crime in which two people were shot and wounded,” says Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, spokesperson for OR Tambo International Airport.

'Acsa assisting SAPS, on high-level alert' 

“It is our understanding that there is a high level of awareness of these matters within the South African Police Services (SAPS), which has the responsibility for preventing and investigating crime in and around the airport.  As airport management we continue to engage with the SAPS on these matters and attempt to effectively communicate the concerns that we hear from the public. In addition, we provide any assistance we can to the efforts of the SAPS to prevent crime that is connected to the airport in some way,” says Gunkel-Keuler.

OR Tambo security has been a matter of concern over the last few months - with the recent robbery was latest in a string of incidents involving people targeted by armed criminals and robbed while travelling from the airport.

SEE: OR Tambo heightens security as multi-million rand robbery details emerge

A man was shot dead and his passengers robbed as he was driving them to OR Tambo International Airport on 15 May, as well as a multi-million rand heist in which cargo to the value of R24m was stolen by robbers allegedly posing as police.

OR Tambo says it is working with the necessary stakeholders - South African Police Services, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD), Customs and Excise (South African Revenue Service), Home Affairs (Immigration), the SA Civil Aviation Authority - to improve the safety and security risks that fall outside of its means of control - in accordance with ICAO regulation.

“We also continuously engage the EMPD at our regular meetings on their mandate to implement by-laws and manage road traffic in Ekurhuleni,” says Gunkel-Keuler.

SEE: Hijacking hotspots: Worst areas in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal

In January this year vehicle tracking and recovery experts, C-track, working with Arrive Alive, revealed hijacking hotspots as well as the top vehicles targeted by criminals.  

ALSO SEE: Hijacking hotspots: Most targeted cars, bakkies in SA

Follow these tips according to Wheels24 to avoid a hijacking:  

  • Have your key ready but not visible. Unlock your car when you're close by.
  • Don’t talk on your cellphone as you walk.  
  • Check the back seat before getting into your car.
  • A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.
  • Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.
  • Always check the rear view mirror to see if you are being followed. 

  • Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight. 
  • Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cellphone.
  • If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.
  • When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
  • Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear of shrubbery. 
  • If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty. 
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
  • Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis. 
  • Make arriving at your destination safer by calling ahead and asking someone to open and close your gate for you.
  • What to do if confronted according to Arrive Alive:

    If confronted:

    • Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker 
  • Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon. Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.
  • Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything in the vehicle.
  • Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of aggression.
  • Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.
  • Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may perceive this behavior as a threat and retaliate aggressively.
  • Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as to give him assurance of your passive content.
  • Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.
  • Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat
  • - How many people?
  • - How many firearms and description thereof?
  • - What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?
  • - To which direction did they drive off?
  • - Take note of the language they use (the accent).
  • First phone the SA Police Service on 08600 10111. They will dispatch the medical services if needed. Other emergency numbers you could phone are 112 ANY Network (Vodacom+MTN+Cell C) or 147 Vodacom ONLY.
  • Activate the vehicle-tracking device, if the vehicle is fitted with one.

  • What to read next on Traveller24:

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    Uber adds safety insurance and claims partner protection to all rides in SA