Police minister Bheki Cele has outlined his department’s strategy to tackle South Africa’s growing hijacking problem and specific hotspot areas.
Responding in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Cele said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) addresses major trends and hotspots areas using an overarching crime strategy, that includes the following five pillars:
- Intelligence gathering, analysis and coordination;
- Proactive and high visibility approach;
- Combat and reaction approach;
- Reaction approach through detection and a focus on organised crime;
- Communication and liaison.
“The crime combatting strategy uses a geographic approach, informed by crime analysis to identify hotspots to allow targeted deployment, crime prevention and crime combatting actions.
“The SAPS crime registrar identified the top 30 high crime rate police stations nationally, in respect of contact crime.”
The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations:
Cele said that the SAPS uses national crime combatting operations to address ‘prioritised crime threats’. He added that ‘Operation Vhutu Hawe’ is currently underway and focuses on hijackings, alongside other contact crimes.
“During the month of February 2021, there was a deployment of 450 members to identified high crime stations in KZN, the Western Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and the Eastern Cape provinces, focusing on contact crimes.
“In addition, senior SAPS officers have been assigned to visit and monitor these police stations,” he said.
Increase in hijackings
Despite these initiatives by the SAPS, the latest hijacking data from the police force shows a steady climb in attacks as the country has eased Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
An increase in carjackings has been reported across all but two provinces, with the exceptions being the Free State, which saw no change, and the Eastern Cape which saw a slight decrease.
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, followed by the KZN and the Western Cap. Sedans and hatchbacks are the most popular targets, followed by bakkies and SUVs.
Nyanga in the Western Cape reported the most number of carjackings, followed by Umlazi in KZN. Motroka in Gauteng (48) was the area with the most cases reported in Gauteng. Most of these hijackings take place in townships followed by residential areas.