The South African Police Service has published crime statistics for the period between 1 January and 31 March 2021, showing an annual increase in hijackings in the country.
The country reported a total of 4,513 carjackings over the period – an increase of 4.9% compared to the same period in the previous year (4,303).
An increase in carjackings was reported across all but three provinces, including Limpopo, the North West and the Northern Cape.
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 (2,328), followed by the KZN (757) and the Western Cape (600). Most of these hijackings take place in townships followed closely by residential areas.
The cars of choice for criminals are sedans and hatchbacks followed by panel vans and bakkies.
The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations:
Nyanga in the Western Cape reported the most number of carjackings (107), followed by Loate in Gauteng (57), and Umlazi in KZN (56).
In response to the country’s high hijacking numbers, Police minister Bheki Cele said that his department has several strategies to tackle South Africa’s specific hotspot areas.
Responding in a recent written parliamentary Q&A in April, 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.”
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.