INCREASE in Car Hijackings: Hijackers target these vehicles in South Africa

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South African police recorded crime statistics point to the types of vehicles targeted by thieves and criminals in the country.

The most up to date crime data from the SAPS, published in mid-August, revealed that carjacking increased by 92.2% for the period April 2021 to 30 June 2021 compared to the same period last year. This figure, however, was adjusted to 13.2% when compared to the same period during 2019/2020.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, which caused an anomaly in the crime stats, annual crime data from SAPS for the period between April 2019 and March 2020 showed that as many 5,245 sedans or hatchbacks were hijacked. In Q1 of 2021, 1,839 sedans or hatchbacks were carjacked, while SUVs accounted for 239 incidents. This was up significantly from 57 SUVs in the prior period.

Bakkies were the second most hijacked vehicle type with 2,200 cases recorded between April 2019 and March 2020. The most recent data shows that in excess of 1,000 bakkies/panel vans had been carjacked inQ1 of 2021 alone.

Most carjackings took place in Gauteng, which recorded 9,025 incidents between April 2019 and March 2020, and almost three times as much as KwaZulu-Natal.

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.

Hijacking attributed a higher percentage of the Tracker vehicle crime activities in 2021 when compared to theft, averaging a 54/46% split.

“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.

Security firm Fidelity ADT meanwhile, said that incidents involving remote-jamming devices have become an everyday occurrence in South Africa.

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

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