Popular hijacking method making a comeback in South Africa

 ·3 Jun 2024

Experts have warned that there has been a reemergence of the tap-tap hijacking tactic in South Africa, with criminals bumping into you on purpose with the aim of stealing your vehicle.

According to car-tracking company Cartrack, criminals may target you by driving behind you and intentionally bumping into your vehicle at a low to moderate speed.

This is done to get your attention without causing significant damage to the vehicle they plan to steal.

Once you stop and exit the vehicle to assess the damage and exchange insurance information, the hijackers may overpower you and steal your car, leaving you stranded on the roadside.

Cartrack also reports that hijackers may use a woman as a decoy driver to give their target a false sense of security.

The “tap-tap” tactic exploits the South African National Road Traffic Act, which requires drivers to pull over after an accident, regardless of its severity.

According to Arrive Alive, motorists who do not stop after an accident can be prosecuted. If found guilty, they may be fined up to R36,000 or face a prison sentence of up to nine years.

In this situation, Fidelity Security recommends signalling to the other driver and driving to a busy location before exiting your vehicle. By doing so, you can ensure your safety and assess the situation.

If the accident was not legitimate, the motorists in the other vehicle are unlikely to follow you to a busy location.

The most recent crime statistics released by the South African Police (SAPS) indicate that carjacking incidents increased by 365 across all nine provinces, reaching a total of 5,973 reported cases.

This means that an average of 65 vehicles were reported as hijacked in South Africa every day.

Similarly, other vehicle-related crimes also saw an increase, with theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles rising by 0.9% to 9,539 incidents, and theft from motor vehicles increasing by 0.5% to 22,288 reports.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), there has been a significant increase in carjackings in three provinces.

These provinces are Gauteng, which experienced a 14.4% increase; the Western Cape, with a 14% increase; and the North West, with an 11% increase.

Interestingly, Kwa-Zulu Natal saw a notable decrease of 17.6% in carjackings, while the Eastern Cape experienced a decrease of 5.2%.

Carjackings are most prevalent in South Africa’s most densely populated regions, including Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.

Gauteng recorded 3,010 carjackings, constituting 50.4% of all reported incidents, while the Western Cape experienced 856 carjackings, and Kwa-Zulu Natal saw 834.

Read: Hijackers have a new target in South Africa – risking insurance premium hikes

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