Big jump in hijackings in South Africa – these are the hotspot areas and trends to look out for

 ·21 Aug 2022

South Africa’s crime statistics for Q1 2022/2023 show another steep increase in hijackings across the country.

The data, which was presented by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Friday (19 August), covers the period between April and June 2022.

A total of 5,866 hijackings were reported across the country over the period – a 14% increase from the 5,146 hijackings reported over the same period the previous year – and averages to a car stolen every 22 minutes in the country.

Hijackings are also up quarter-on-quarter, climbing 8.6% from 5,402 cases recorded in Q4 2021/2022. Looking at hijacking trends over the three-month period, there was a sharp jump in May, followed by a decline in June.

As with the country’s other major crime statistics, the majority of the cases were reported in the most populous areas. Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (3,113), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (913) and the Western Cape (754).

Mpumalanga was the only province to record a decline in hijackings.

The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the third quarter.

Nyanga in the Western Cape recorded the highest number of hijackings (104), followed by Philippi East and Harare in the same province. While the Western Cape takes the top spots, the 30 worst stations are dominated by Gauteng.

Hijacking trends

Tracker South Africa recently warned that hijackers in the country are changing their strategies in the country to adapt to new technologies. This includes the increased use of key re-programmers and signal grabbers to counteract new technologies like ‘push to start’ buttons in vehicles.

The group also noted that with the advent of home deliveries over the last few years, people are now being targeted when they wait at their gate for delivery, with the gate being blocked by a criminal, allowing them to gain entry into the property and access to vehicles.

When it comes to vehicles and vehicle types that are targetted by hijackers, bakkies continue to be high on the list for the probability of getting hijacked, Tracker said.

Security company Fidelity’s recent data shows hijackers most often targeted Toyota and Volkswagen vehicles, with targetted models including:

  • Toyota Hilux
  • Volkswagen Polo
  • Toyota Quantum
  • Nissan NP200

This lines up with the SAPS’ latest data, which shows that sedans, hatchbacks and bakkies are the most hijacked vehicle types in the country.

Tracking group Netstar’s data also lines up with the report. The group said that the prime targets for hijacking are primarily mid-level sedans and luxury SUVs.

Netstar recently noted the following ways vehicle-related crimes are committed in South Africa:

  • “Police hijacking”/Blue light gang activity where criminals pose as law enforcement officers.
  • They remove your number plate, drive next to you and show you the plate; when you stop, they hijack you.
  • They physically bump you, and when you get out to inspect the damage, they hijack you.
  • They show you that you have a flat tyre; when you stop to check, they hijack you.

To keep safe and prevent falling victim to hijackers, tracking companies recommend the following:

The company offered the following tips to stay safe and prevent a possible hijacking:

  • Take note of similar vehicles: Hijackings are often well planned. The target is followed for days before the incident; therefore, take note if you see the same vehicles that keep popping up on your daily travels.
  • Report: Always report any suspicious activity immediately to your local neighbourhood watch or security company.
  • Don’t just drive into your driveway: Be cognizant of what vehicles are around you, and if a vehicle has been taking the same turns as you, do not just drive into your driveway.
  • Keep moving: Try to have someone open a gate for you if it is not electric, and if it is, try to open it for the minimum time possible with the least stationary time in your vehicle.
  • Consider time: Always be aware and alert of your surroundings, especially when pulling into driveways and idling at traffic lights. We generally find that the hijacking peak occurs late in the evening when people may be returning home from work and are tired and relaxed.

Read: New hijacking trend to look out for in South Africa

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