The latest hijacking trends to watch out for over the December holidays in South Africa

 ·1 Dec 2023

The festive season is the busiest time of the year for both syndicates and opportunistic criminals, and recent data shows that the most common place of attack is still right outside the motorist’s home – in the driveway.

This is according to MiWay Insurance, which highlighted that hijackers continue to adopt new deceptive tactics, and consumers need to raise self-awareness and become more vigilant during the festive.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), 5,488 cars were hijacked during the second quarter of 2023, with an estimated 60 carjackings reported each day – up from 57 cars per day in Q1 2023.

According to Youlon Naidoo, Executive Head of Claims and Procurement at MiWay Insurance, of all the methods carjackers use, the most common place of attack is still right outside the motorist’s home – in the driveway.

He said that despite your home being commonly considered a ‘safe place’, it has become the most targeted.

“According to recently released statistics by Crime SA, an estimated 71% of South African car hijackings occur in residential driveways.

Our internal data further reveals that most hijackings take place within a five-kilometre radius, mainly between 6 pm and 9 pm, and that they rarely occur in the morning,” he added.

Targeted vehicles

Santam noted in its report that it had seen a shift away from older, low-value vehicles with limited security requirements to more expensive double cabs and SUVs. This aligned with the experiences of private security companies such as Fidelity ADT.

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

However, much like Santam’s experience, Fidelity noted that high-value cars such as Toyota Prados and Toyota Landcruisers are among the most popular models for criminals, along with the Hilux bakkie and Fortuner SUV.

Safety tips

Here are some of the safety tips from Naidoo to help South African motorists be extra vigilant when arriving home:

  • Make sure no one is following you when driving home – Whether leaving the shopping mall or the airport – both being commonly targeted areas – keep an eye on your rearview mirror to ensure that no one is tracking your route. Regardless of the make, model or colour of the vehicle, always stay vigilant.
  • Alternate your route home – Changing your daily route from your original route when heading home may be wise. Attackers are more likely to learn your travel patterns and follow you home when using the exact same route daily.
  • Know your nearest police station – If it looks as though you are being followed or should you feel uncomfortable, do not drive home; instead, head to your nearest police station. Having an escape route planned will help to distract criminals and alert them that you have spotted their unusual actions.
  • Be aware when arriving home – Whatever the time, when arriving home, do not open your gate and pull into your driveway if there is a car behind you. Instead, drive around the block to see if you can lose the car or stop parallel to your gate, which will allow you to make a quick getaway should the trailing vehicle slow down. Always make sure that you observe your full surroundings looking forward, backwards and sideways.

Read: Warning over exploitation scam targeting young people in South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter