31 July 2009

Anti-hijacking ideas

This has to be the most morbid post I've made - if not ever, at least recently - and it has to do with a very important subject; South Africa's crime.

I was driving to work today, and I got to thinking (and my drive isn't all that long, so my brain has no time to fire up on all cylinders in such short time, so forgive me if this is silly stuff) about what would happen if one were to break down in our neighbourhood, and thought to myself, it's not so bad, it's a safe neighbourhood. And then I extrapolated that to a bad neighbourhood, and thought of ideas to avoid being in trouble, and then it grew and grew and I decided there has to be some "survival kit" that is easy to implement and affordable to have for each South African car owner, and I came up with an idea...

It's a simple idea - and it works on the following principle;

  1. Break down or run out of fuel (that's generally a silly thing) in a bad area, what do you do?
  2. Lock the doors and wait for help, or get out of the car and run away.
  3. These are both good options provided you've got bullet-proof windows, or you are healthy and fit enough to outrun most trouble coming your way, and you know which way to go. These are not good options if you can't achieve either.
  4. The key - in my mind - is to be as invisible as possible in circumstances like this. So I thought about maybe one hiding in their boot - easy to access in most cars now, but not so smart if suddenly someone hijacks the car and you're in the boot.
  5. Then I thought that it should be an essential lesson for everyone to know how to open a boot from the inside, especially to alert others to your plight. But it's hard in the dark, so you'd need a torch.
  6. Then I realised that most people's cellphones offer enough light to illuminate the trunk of a car and would allow an unfortunate victim to see in the boot.
  7. Then I thought, why use the cellphone for light when you can use it to make emergency calls?
  8. Then I thought, well, if one were unfortunate enough to be hijacked, chances are the hijackers would steal the cellphone off of your person before bundling you into the boot of the car, in which case the cellphone is no good to you.
  9. Then I thought, what about putting a grotty old cellphone into the trunk of the car and storing it away somewhere as an emergency device.
  10. Then I thought, this was ingenious, because if it had GPS, you could also broadcast your GPS coordinates using a tool like Google Latitude, or in the very least, SMS your emergency contacts (you all have some, don't you?) and telling them you're in danger, and then they can contact the SP and say "triangulate their location! This is urgent!".
  11. Then I thought, the other good idea is to notify AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE rather than just try to reach one person at a time, so I thought this cellphone should have a mailing list of three or four (at least) people that you know are reliable and tech-savvy enough to help you; you get one SMS out to all of them and voila, they're all on your case and then you dump the phone hidden somewhere so it can be triangulated.
  12. It would be more comforting to be verbally communicating, but there's a risk the bad guys would overhear you and then snatch the phone away. A phone on silent with SMS comms is a safer bet. Hiding it away is even better.
So my briefly morbid, yet potentially life-saving and practical solution is to keep a cheap cellphone hidden in the trunk of your car that has been prepared for emergencies. Were the unthinkable (or rather, undesirable) to happen, one could simply grab the phone, use it as a source of light to open the trunk from the inside (if one knew how), or otherwise contacting the emergency list and advising them of your desperate need for emergency salvation.

I know most of us don't want to think of such things, but when I read stories of four guys trapped in the trunk of a car for eighteen hours, or someone being left in a car to roast, etc. it makes me think that we need to be a little more proactive than simply hoping it won't happen to us!


Hokemon said...

Just be sure you have a suitable car charger as well. Your sneaky backup cellphone won't help diddly if the battery's flat!

Kai Hendry said...

Hiding in the BOOT?!?!?!

Reading this post made me glad I live in the UK.

Michael said...

Yeah, but your bicycle doesn't have a boot? So where would you hide? You'd definitely be screwed....