Hijackers are now targeting these vehicles more frequently in South Africa

 ·10 May 2023

Security and insurance experts have indicated an uptick in hijackings over the past two months and revealed the times of day your car is more likely to be stolen or hijacked and what types of vehicles are being targeted.

Fidelity services group CEO Wahl Bartmann confirmed to BusinessTech that within the Fidelity footprint, they had seen an increase in the number of hijackings recorded between March and April 2023.

Bartmann noted that the most prominent hijacking tactic over these months is targeting victims at their homes. He said that victims who park outside a house and exit or enter their gates are particularly vulnerable.

“Some incidents are pre-planned, and before the hijacking, some perpetrators follow victims to identify the victims’ homes and travel habits,” he added.

According to Fidelity, vehicles under the Toyota, VW, Ford, and Nissan brands continue to be common targets among criminals, and the specific models include:

  • Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, and Corollas
  • VW Polos
  • Nissan NP200s

These cars are often among South Africa’s most popular vehicles – according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) ’s reports – and demand for these vehicle parts is partly the reason for their popularity among hijackers.

“In a time of disrupted supply chains – due to factors such as load shedding, the impact of floods and lockdowns in different parts of the world – parts availability impacts which vehicles are more popular among thieves,” said Naked Insurance co-founder Ernest North.

He added that “when there is high demand and low supply of parts for a particular model, thieves are likelier to target it”.

Interestingly, Bartmann noted that trucks with valuable loads are also now popular vehicles being targeted, specifically Hyundai H100s.

Times of day you’re most vulnerable

Commenting on the latest hijacking trends, North revealed that Naked’s data was able to show the time of day your car is more likely to be stolen or hijacked based on reported claims.

According to the data, hijackings account for 54% of vehicle thefts between 05h00 and 12h00, while 47% of thefts occur from lunch to 21h00 and 25% between 21h00 and 05h00.

Another interesting observation is that you are more likely to have your car stolen whilst driving in the morning than if your car was parked somewhere. This trend then shifts to a 75% likelihood while parked at night.

Naked’s data is presented in the table below, showing the likelihood of your car being stolen throughout the day whilst driving vs parked.

Time of day Driving Parked
05h00 – 12h00 54% 46%
12h00 – 21h00 47% 53%
21h00 – 05h00 25% 75%

Given the continued prevalence of hijackings in the country, both North and Bartmann agreed that staying alert is probably the most crucial tip, including:

  • Avoid driving or parking in an unsecured area when possible; be vigilant if you travel at night.
  • Drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
  •  Keep valuables such as smartphones, computers and jewellery out of sight.
  • When a vehicle is following you close to your home or when an unknown car is parked close to your residence, drive past your house and head for a busy place, like 24-hour garages, hospitals, police stations etc.
  • Consider taking a hijack prevention and awareness training programme from an institution like the National Hijack Prevention Academy.

Read: Criminals have a new target in South Africa

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