Security Alert: Vehicle Safety Tips – U.S. Embassy, Harare, Zimbabwe

Location: Across Zimbabwe

Event:  On May 16, 2019, an American was accosted by a small group of local national men in an attempted crime of opportunity when the American driver stopped at the intersection of Northwood Rise and Moorgate Road, in Mount Pleasant, Harare. There were no signs of weapons and the only attempt to gain access to the vehicle was when the assailants attempted to open the car door. Currently, there is no evidence of a rise of this type of crime in this area or any other specific area.

Actions to Take:

  • Program your phone with numbers for the police and local neighborhood patrol
  • Vary the times you depart your residence and the routes you take. Do not fall into a predictable routine.
  • Maintain situational awareness. Remain alert for people and things that appear out of the ordinary. Do not become distracted by your phone, GPS, conversations, etc.
  • Never leave valuable items visible in your vehicle. These items can make you a target for “smash and grab” robbers.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and windows up at all times – especially when driving slowly and when stopped (e.g., at intersections).
  • Slow down well in advance of red lights. This can give the light time to turn green (i.e., obviate the need to stop).
  • When stopped at an intersection, leave plenty of space between your bumper and the car in front of you. This will give you room to maneuver and escape.
  • If you are accosted in your vehicle:
    • Make noise! Draw attention to the incident by making loud noises (rev engine, blow horn, activate car alarm / panic button, etc.). Activate DriveCam if your car is equipped with it.
    • Get off the X!” Leave the scene of the incident. Do not remain at the scene because an attacker is standing in the way of your vehicle. Your safety has priority over any potential harm that may come to an attacker who tried to prevent your escape. Drive away and keep driving until you reach a safe location. Do not return to your residence if you are followed – go somewhere else.