Road user safety is again in the spotlight following a spate of cash in transit heists and several high profile hijacking incidents in Gauteng over the past week.
Gauteng police this past weekend confirmed that they are investigating the hijacking of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama. The incident is understood to have taken place on Thursday (5 July).
And radio personality Darren Scott highlighted his hijacking ordeal on social media last week. Scott said that his attempted hijacking happened at 19h15 at the William Nicol Drive and Leslie Avenue intersection.
“It was 19h15 at the William Nicol / Leslie intersection. This has been called a hijacking hotspot for a while now, yet there is nothing one can do if you are targeted …. traffic still fairly heavy from peak time, with cars left and right of you, and in front and behind. You’re trapped … it’s probably why they target these intersections,” he said in a Facebook message.
Scott said he was thankful that he had listened to advice from experts, who had said: “Try and stay as calm as possible, don’t resist and give them what they want.”
Speaking to BusinessTech recently, Melinda Brussow operations manager at the National Hijacking Prevention Academy (NHPA) explained how hijacking patterns have changed over the past few years and why certain patterns don’t change.
Time, type and place
The majority of hijackings still occur on a Friday as this is the day that motorists are most likely to be relaxed.
Hijackings are low in the evening and early hours of the morning, and start increasing at 06h00 due to motorists leaving home for work, which then stabilises during the course of the day.
Brussow said that modus operandi and the trends highlighted in a 2016 report don’t change because they are still incredibly effective as proven by the statistics.
“Once a few attacks take place in a specific location, police activity increases and the criminals move to the next spot,” said Brussow.
“It’s a continuing trend. Times also show no significant change, although many attacks have occurred in broad daylight over the last two years.”
According to vehicle tracking company Ctrack, the following times are considered low risk and ‘peak’ period in a 24-hour period in South Africa:
A year ago, the vehicle tracking company published data on the most hijacked vehicles in South Africa. Ctrack said that the VW Polo is the most hijacked passenger vehicle in the country, while the Toyota Fortuner is the most hijacked SUV, and Ford is the third most targeted manufacturer.
Brussow said that criminals have also become increasingly “windgat“, due to unsuccessful crime prevention. The expert highlighted nine hijack trends criminals employ right now in South Africa.
- Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas. These hijackers prefer areas with accessible escape routes.
- Hijackings take place while stationed at any traffic sign or intersection.
- Hijackings take place while stationary next to the road, e.g. to answer cell phone.
- Hijackings also occur at post offices and parking areas or you may be followed leaving the filling station with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.
- The hijackers sometimes use a vehicle to force the victim off the road.
- Hijackings take place at schools when dropping off / picking up children.
- Hijackings take place while the vehicle is idling when off-loading / loading passengers.
- Hijackings take place when advertising your vehicle for sale (Test drive method).
- Bogus Police or Traffic Officers also conduct hijackings (Blue light scenario).