South Africa’s worst hijacking hotspots

Tracker has released its vehicle crime statistics for the year July 2018 to June 2019.

Over this time period, the group reported 5,438 vehicles recovered, 1,037 arrests and 50 firearms recovered.

The statistics – from Tracker’s 1.1 million installed vehicle base – cover vehicle theft and hijacking, and provide insight into the time of day and day of the week when vehicle crime is most likely to occur in South Africa.

The index also records the suburbs most affected in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, the provinces that encounter the most vehicle crime, and the techniques that criminals employ.

Time of day

Tracker’s data shows that the most activations for hijackings take place on a Friday between 11h00 and 13h00, followed by 20h00 to 23h00.

While vehicles are activated for theft mainly on a Saturday between 12h00 and 14h00.

Activated means that Tracker initiated recovery action. These statistics are unchanged from the previous year’s records.


Hotspots 

The majority of activations as a percentage of Tracker’s installed base are in Gauteng, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape.

Tracker found that the suburbs in Gauteng most affected by hijacking are

  • Kensington;
  • Arcadia; and
  • Eldorado Park.

The Pretoria CBD, Arcadia and Sunnyside have the most activations for theft.

In KwaZulu-Natal, hijackings mainly occur in:

  • Sydenham;
  • Imbali; and
  • Avoca Hills.

Theft is mostly reported in Glenwood, Morningside and Musgrave.

In the Western Cape, hijacking hotspots are:

  • Philippi;
  • Khayelitsha; and
  • Maitland.

Philippi, Claremont and Dunoon are hotspots for theft.


Worst cities

An April report by the South African Cities Network (SACN) found that the theft of vehicles and motorcycles is a crime with a strong urban bias, as illustrated by the fact that most cities have stayed above the national rate over the past 13 years.

Over the past 13 years, three cities – Johannesburg, eThekwini and Ekurhuleni – were the top three cities for carjacking, while three cities – Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane – show a similar pattern: after some years of decline, carjackings began increasing from 2011/12, but have slightly decreased since 2016/17.

“Despite a decrease in certain violent property crimes between 2016/17 and 2017/18, (residential robbery -1%, non-residential robbery -4%, and carjacking -3%), the long-term trend shows an increase, whereas non-violent property crimes have decreased,” the researchers said.

“Residential burglary and theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles are at their lowest rates in over 20 years, having declined by at least 30% since 1994.”

Over the past 13 years, three cities – Johannesburg, eThekwini and Ekurhuleni – were the top three cities for carjacking, while three cities – Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane – show a similar pattern: after some years of decline, carjackings began increasing from 2011/12, but have slightly decreased since 2016/17.

The research shows that this crime is less prevalent among the smaller cities, with Msunduzi, Buffalo City and Mangaung remaining below the national rate (except between 2011/12 and 2012/13 for Mangaung).

“It is unclear as to why there have been substantial increases in carjackings in most cities, but this may relate to the introduction of more sophisticated vehicle security measures, which has made the theft of parked vehicles more difficult, and hence vehicle theft syndicates have increasingly resorted to carjacking,” it said.


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South Africa’s worst hijacking hotspots