South Africa’s crime statistics for Q1 2021/2022 show another increase in hijackings across the country.
The data, which was presented by national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and his officials in parliament on Friday (19 November), covers the period between July and September 2021.
A total of 4,973 hijackings were reported across the country over the period – a 3.5% increase from the 4,803 hijackings reported over the same period last year.
While this number is relatively flat when compared annually, the month-to-month statistics show a clear increase in hijackings as lockdown levels have been eased.
During the height of level 4 restrictions – between 28 June and 25 July 2021 – the total number of hijackings reported stood at 1,497.
This figure increased as the government eased Covid related restrictions, rising to 1,614 incidents during the level 3 lockdown (26 July – 12 September) and 1,611 incidents during the level 2 lockdown (from 13 September).
As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, the majority of the cases were reported in the most populous areas. Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,435), followed by the Western Cape (838) and KwaZulu-Natal (733).
The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the second quarter.
Harare in the Western Cape reported the most carjackings (106), followed Nyanga in the Western Cape (98), and Tembisa in Gauteng (69).
Data published by vehicle-tracking company Tracker in August noted a change in vehicle criminal behaviour as hijackers become more brazen and desperate.
According to Duma Ngcobo, chief operating officer at Tracker South Africa, hijacking is now more prevalent than vehicle 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. South Africans should be wary and remain vigilant, especially when returning home from shopping or when goods bought online are delivered to their homes. Hijackings are often violent, and there are instances where a hostage is taken,” said Ngcobo.