Security company Fidelity ADT says that incidents involving remote-jamming devices have become an everyday occurrence in South Africa and that residents need to be especially mindful of ensuring their vehicles are locked before leaving them unattended.
Car jamming occurs when a criminal uses signal-blocking technology to prevent a vehicle from locking properly.
South African motorists often walk away from their cars while pressing their remote without ensuring that their vehicles are physically locked, Fidelity ADT said.
“Unfortunately, residents are too complacent when it comes to movable property outside their security perimeter. Last week alone, there were twelve reported incidents where cars were stolen, six of which occurred in Alberton,” said Michelle Pelser, Fidelity ADT JHB South branch manager.
Pelser said that the following vehicles are considered ‘high-risk’ and that a tracking unit should be installed where possible:
- VW Polo sedan
- VW Polo hatchback
- Toyota Fortuner
- Toyota Etios
- Toyota Yaris
- Toyota Hilux
- Ford Ranger
Pelser encouraged residents to park inside their perimeter security if possible and, if not, to ensure that they do not leave any valuables in their vehicles if they are parked on the pavement.
“It’s especially important not to leave any valuable items inside the car where they can be seen from the window. Rather lock these items in the boot,” she said.
She added that residents should also ensure their vehicles are locked when parked at shopping malls, schools, businesses and other unattended areas.
“The growing use of remote jamming devices to block or jam the locking mechanism of motor vehicles has unfortunately become an everyday occurrence. Always check that the car is locked by testing the door. Don’t assume that by pressing the remote locking that your car is locked,” she said.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) for Q1 2021/2022, published in August, shows a steep increase in hijackings across South Africa compared to Q1 2019, despite the impact of lockdown restrictions.
The data shows that aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by 92.2% compared to Q1 2019. By comparison, carjacking increased by 13.1% compared to Q1 2020.
As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, most hijacking cases are reported in the most populous areas.
Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,704), followed by the KZN (820) and the Western Cape (589). Most of these hijackings take place in townships, the data showed.
The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the first quarter:
Phillipi East in the Western Cape reported the most carjackings (78), followed by Sandton in Gauteng (68) and Nyanga in the Western Cape (67).