Hijackings in South Africa – these are the major trends and hotspot areas

The South African Police Service has published crime statistics for the period between 1 October and 31 December 2021, showing an annual increase in hijackings in the country.

The country reported a total of 4,794 carjackings over the period – an increase of 7.4% compared to the same period in the previous year (4,462).

An increase in carjackings was reported across all but two provinces, with the exceptions being the Free State, which saw no change, and the Eastern Cape which saw a decrease of 2.1%.

As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, the majority of the cases were reported in the most populous areas.

The most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,346), followed by the KZN (791) and the Western Cape (708). Sedans and hatchbacks are the most popular targets, followed by bakkies and SUVs.

Nyanga in the Western Cape reported the most number of carjackings (133), followed by Umlazi in KZN (73). Motroka in Gauteng (48) was the area with the most cases reported in Gauteng.

Most of these hijackings take place in townships followed close residential areas. The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations:

Data published by vehicle-tracking company Tracker in January shows that hijacking is still more popular than vehicle theft in the country, averaging a 53/47 split versus theft.

“The slant towards hijacking is most likely an opportunistic tactic, with a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly fast-moving consumable goods. Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted,” it said.

Tracker data indicates that:

  • Most vehicles are reported hijacked or stolen at the end of the week;
  • Most hijackings are reported on Wednesday through to Friday and between the hours of 16h00 and 20h00;
  • Theft is mainly reported on Wednesday through to Saturday and between the hours of 11h00 and 15h00.

Tracker’s data shows that Gauteng still experiences the most vehicle crime, with hijacking prevalent in Johannesburg and theft mainly occurring in Pretoria.

This is followed by KwaZulu-Natal with Durban in the top spot for both hijacking and theft, and the Western Cape with hijacking mainly occurring in Mitchells Plain and theft in Cape Town.

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Hijackings in South Africa – these are the major trends and hotspot areas