Hijackers are now after more than just vehicles in South Africa

 ·6 Jun 2024

Tracker South Africa has warned of the escalation in hijackers targeting delivery fleets amid the boom in e-commerce in South Africa—with your online items now the main target apart from the car itself.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online retail in South Africa, leading to a significant increase in e-commerce transactions.

This growth has also had a positive impact on the freight and logistics sector.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the industry is projected to grow from a value of R402 billion in 2023 to around R590 billion by 2029.

Given South Africa’s high rate of vehicle and fleet crime, the increase in the number of delivery vehicles on the roads has led to a rise in hijacking incidents.

Criminals are now targeting courier and logistics vehicles that are transporting goods bought online.

“Regrettably, crime aimed at online deliveries now prove highly lucrative, whether the objective is acquiring the delivered goods, seizing cash or devices carried by drivers, or commandeering the delivery vehicle,” it said.

Where the hijacked loads have been reported to Tracker, 81% of these were fast-moving consumable goods (FMCG), including alcohol, clothing, groceries, couriered parcels through online sales platforms, homeware and medication.

In criminal circles, cargo is now considered more valuable and desirable than the transportation vehicle itself, thus the escalation in opportunistic business vehicle hijackings.

Tracker first warned of this trend over two months ago; however, the escalations have warranted the security company to suggest fleet managers in South Africa should now consider a combination of long-term solutions to protect their cargo and drivers from hijackers.

According to Tracker’s Vehicle Crime Index (VCI), which aggregates information from the company’s more than 1.1 million subscribers, hijackings still dominate at a national level, accounting for 55% of all national vehicle crime incidents.

Business-owned vehicles are almost twice as likely to be hijacked than stolen.

Additionally, Tracker noted South Africa’s challenged road network is proving to be an additional and substantial factor in overall logistics considerations regarding driver safety.

Due to decaying rail infrastructure, trucks replaced trains on long-haul routes, resulting in more heavy-duty vehicles and their cargos being exposed to criminal elements.

Gauteng remains the province with the highest volume of business vehicle-related crime, accounting for 56% of incidents. KwaZulu-Natal experiences 14% of these incidents and the Western Cape 13%.

This aligns with states from the South African Police Department, which showed Gauteng and the Western Cape have experienced a double-digit increase in hijacking cases.

The SAPS highlighted that South Africa has seen an increase in hijackings year-on-year, with approximately 66 cars being stolen daily.

Read: Popular hijacking method making a comeback in South Africa

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