When and where most vehicle crime occurs in South Africa

The suburbs in Gauteng most affected by hijacking are Kensington, Arcadia and Eldorado Park. Picture: SUPPLIED
The suburbs in Gauteng most affected by hijacking are Kensington, Arcadia and Eldorado Park. Picture: SUPPLIED

Most vehicle hijackings take place on a Friday between 11am and 1pm, and there has been a notable increase in hostage taking during hijackings.

These are the findings of vehicle crime statistics for the period July 2018 to June 2019 released by Tracker. The statistics, from the company’s 1.1-million installed vehicle base, cover vehicle theft and hijacking, and provide insight into the time of day and day of the week when vehicle crime is most likely to occur in SA.

The index also records the suburbs most affected in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape — the provinces that encounter the most vehicle crime — and the techniques that criminals employ.

Tracker data indicates that the most activations for hijackings take place on a Friday between 11am and 1pm, followed by 8pm to 11pm. Vehicles are activated for theft mainly on a Saturday between 12pm and 2pm. Activated means that Tracker initiated recovery action. These statistics are unchanged from the previous year’s records.

The majority of activations as a percentage of Tracker’s installed base are in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

The suburbs in Gauteng most affected by hijacking are Kensington, Arcadia and Eldorado Park, while the Pretoria CBD, Arcadia and Sunnyside have the most activations for theft.

In KwaZulu-Natal, hijackings mainly occur in Sydenham, Imbali and Avoca Hills, while theft is mostly reported in Glenwood, Morningside and Musgrave. In the Western Cape, it is Philippi, Khayelitsha and Maitland for hijacking, and Philippi, Claremont and Dunoon for theft.

Tracker records indicate that the techniques employed by criminals are unchanged from the previous year, but the company has noted an increase in hostage taking during hijackings.

“An average of 29% of Tracker’s activations result in a hostage being taken,” says a spokesperson.

“Further techniques include criminals impersonating law enforcement officials in order to commit hijackings, a method otherwise known as blue light robberies; the spiking of drinks to take advantage of unsuspecting victims; and vehicle theft using online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment.”

When it comes to business crime, most vehicles are stolen to obtain the fast-moving consumables that they carry. However, there are instances where the vehicle itself is sought.

Tracker’s infographic shows vehicle theft and hijacking trends for SA from July 2018 to June 2019. Illustration: SUPPLIED
Tracker’s infographic shows vehicle theft and hijacking trends for SA from July 2018 to June 2019. Illustration: SUPPLIED

Encouragingly, Tracker reports 5,438 vehicles recovered, 1,037 arrests and 50 firearms recovered for the 12 months from July 2018 to June 2019.

“Many people go about their regular driving activity on autopilot without much awareness or consideration for what is going on around them. Criminals recognise and take advantage of this complacency,” says Ron Knott-Craig, executive operational services at Tracker SA.

“To avoid being an easy target, we need to stay alert and be vigilant. Avoid distractions while driving and pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t believe it could never happen to you.

“Should an incident occur, report it to your tracking company and authorities as soon as possible. Also, try to remember as much detail as possible to provide a good description to authorities, such as the location where the crime occurred, clothing and appearance of the hijackers, and any other information that may assist authorities in identifying and apprehending the perpetrators.

“Also, Crime Stop is an SAPS toll-free number and can be contacted to anonymously report criminal activities on 08600 10111, or send an anonymous SMS to Crime Line at 32211,” says Knott-Craig.

A tracking device is an option for motorists looking not only to protect their car but to ensure their personal safety. These days a vehicle tracking service can offer much more than only stolen vehicle recovery; premium services can monitor your car and send you notifications on risk events such as when you are entering high-risk areas.

“With more inclusive services, as the driver you are able to share your journey with a friend or loved one ensuring that they know where you are and that you are safe.”  

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