What is a smash and grab?

A smash and grab is usually characterized by the criminal smashing through a vehicle window while the car is stationary at traffic lights or stuck in slow moving traffic and grabbing something of value (jackets, handbags, laptops, cellphones etc).

Smash and grab culprits usually play on the element of speed and surprise; violently smashing of the window at the passenger side places the motorist in a few moments of silent paralysis – just enough to get hold of the valuables and flee the scene.

What could be stolen?

Items targeted include:

  • Purses, hand bags and wallets
  • Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks
  • Shopping bags
  • Cell phones, MP3 players and tablets
  • Loose change and CDs

How can you avoid being a victim of a smash and grab?

  • Don’t have bags, cellular phones, briefcases or other valuables visible inside the vehicle – valuables only attract thieves who may break your car window. Keep your valuables stored in the boot or under your boot.
  • Keep your hand close to the hooter when you are at a robot or stop street. When approaching a red traffic light at night, it is better to slow down so that you can only reach it when it turns green.
  • Lock all your doors and close the windows when driving – never open vehicle windows or doors for strangers.
    • Avoid opening your windows or getting involved in discussions with street vendors or anyone handing out flyers.
    • Be wary of people standing at intersections – they may be innocent but perpetrators mix with these people while waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Upon approaching an intersection leave a reasonable stopping distance between you and the car in front of you to manoeuvre and escape any dangerous situation.
    • If you encounter obstacles such as rocks or tyres do not get out of your vehicle to remove them – immediately reverse and drive off in the opposite direction. Be especially wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road. If the pieces of glass are still scattered across the road, chances are that a smash and grab occurred just recently.
  • Possinly the best preventative means is to have polycarb film fitted to your windows. This is tinted so that potential thieves can not see into your car. The films makes it extremely difficult to shatter your windows and it also reduces glare. In addition, the film reduces the chance of injury from broken glass.


In the event of smash-and-grab attack it is advisable to remain clam and do not show any signs of aggression or threaten or challenge the thieves. Remember, personal items are replaceable, your life is not!

Report it via 10111.


Leave a reply