Hijacking increases as South Africa heads into the Holiday season

Hijacking increases as South Africa heads into the Holiday season
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As South Africans start gearing up for the holiday season, they are being warned to take heed of criminals targeting drivers and their vehicles.

Crime statistics for Q2 2021/2022 published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) Police Minister, Beke Cele reports that while South Africa is still in a state of emergency, the upward trend in carjackings and related vehicle crime is still on the rise.

In Q1 2021/2022, the South African Police Service (SAPS) compared the crime data to 2019, considered a ‘normal period’, instead of 2020 in consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Business Tech quoted Mr Cele as saying,

“We cannot compare the same period of this year and last year, due to the skewed and abnormal crime trends, caused by the different levels of lockdown, if we are to understand this crime picture that we are presenting to you today”.

In Q1 an increase in aggravated robberies, such as carjacking, was reported to have increased by 92.2% compared to Q1 2019. By comparison, carjacking increased by 13.1% compared to Q1 2020. In Q2, a 3.5% increase has been reported. It is noted that there is a direct correlation between the level of crime and the subsequent lockdown levels. “As the country moved from a level 5 lockdown at the end of March 2020 (394 hijackings) to a level 3 lockdown in June (1,376 hijackings),” noted Business Tech.

Minister Cele was quoted as describing level 5 lockdown as a “crime holiday” for South Africa, which is now gone.

“The figures, as distorted as they are, must also sharpen the SAPS operational responses to make South Africa safer for all who live in it.”

Crime Incline

The majority of South Africa’s carjacking and other major crime statistics continue to originate in the most populous areas. In Q2 the highest number of carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,518), followed by the KZN (754) and the Western Cape (697).  The majority of these reported crimes are taken place in townships and residential areas.

See the fully published SAPS Q2 2021/2022 Recorded Crime Statistics Report, here.

Below we can see the areas with the most carjacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the second quarter:

Harare in the Western Cape reported an 89.3% increase in carjackings (106),  the highest in the country, followed by Nyanga in the Western Cap (98) and Tembisa in Gauteng (69).

Hijacking more prevalent than theft

Business Tech reported on data published by the vehicle-tracking company Tracker, back in August which showed that the nature of vehicle crime is changing. COO of Tracker, Duma Ngcobo, said that hijacking is “now more prevalent than vehicle theft” taking 54% of the two types of car-related crime.

Opportunists are targeting fast-moving consumable goods vehicles, vehicles carrying large amounts of cash as well as the average person, returning home from shopping or receiving goods delivered to their front door. Unfortunately, hijackings are often violent, and in certain instances “a hostage is taken,” said Ngcobo.

As we move into the holiday season, we will see more people on the move between towns and provinces, or just heading back and forth between home and the shops. Tracker COO warns South Africans to take heed and also to be aware of other criminal tactics. These include criminals impersonating law enforcement officials to commit hijackings, vehicle theft through online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment, flagging down where criminals pretend they see something wrong with your vehicle or drivers stopping to pick-up up hitchhikers.

What To Do If Confronted By A Hijacker

The Arrive Alive campaign has shared critical and potentially life-saving tips on what to do if confronted by a hijacker.

  • Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker.
  • Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon. Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.
  • Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything in the vehicle.
  • Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of aggression.
  • Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.
  • Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may perceive this behaviour as a threat and retaliate aggressively.
  • Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as to give him assurance of your passive content.
  • Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.
  • Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat.
    • How many people?
    • How many firearms and description thereof?
    • What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?
    • To which direction did they drive off?
    • Take note of the language they use (the accent).
  • First phone the SA Police Service on 08600 10111. They will dispatch the medical services if needed. Other emergency numbers you could phone are 112 ANY Network (Vodacom+MTN+Cell C) or 147 Vodacom ONLY.
  • Activate the vehicle tracking device if the vehicle is fitted with one.

For more information, visit Arrive Alive, here.

To read the Business Tech article, here.

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