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The annual Crime Stats for 2018/2019 were recently released by the South African Police Services. There’s a lot of terrifying stuff to trudge through (over 2 million crimes have been recorded for the period), but in this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the hijacking stats, in particular.
While many other crimes have seen a significant decrease, cases of hijacking have steadily increased over the last few years. Of the 16 026 incidents reported over the 2018/2019 period, the majority occurred in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
According to the statistics, incidences of hijacking are more likely to occur in and around townships and within the inner-city than in any other area, as evidenced by the fact that, despite Gauteng seeing the highest rate of hijackings (7 776) per province, it was Nyanga, in the Western Cape, that had the most reported incidents (273) of any precinct.
Of the 16 026 reported incidents, a staggering 15 098 took place in or around townships.
By contrast, around 1 500 incidents took place in city centres, 110 on national highways, 97 in suburbs and one at a port of entry.
Hijackers used a firearm in 14 381 of the reported cases, used a blunt instrument in 1 104 of the cases and used their hands in 1 088.
Reports state that in gaining control of the vehicle, hijackers opt for pointing or threatening with their weapon most of the time – 12 857 incidents reported – or grabbing the victim, as in 2 794 cases. In 368 incidents, the driver of the vehicle was shot.
It’s important to keep in mind, of course, that these statistics only cover those crimes that were reported to the SAPS at the time, and that the real numbers are likely to be far higher. According to the most recent Stats SA Victims of Crime Survey, for instance, the total number of hijackings to take place in SA over the last year totals 34 880 – over double that of the official SAPS number.
That’s one incident of hijacking every 15 minutes.
Commenting on the latter statistics, Jason Mordecai, MD of 7Arrows Security, noted that hijackings at residences and public hot spots have increased over the past three years. Hijacking syndicates operate as well-orchestrated businesses, employing people incentivised to deliver certain car models on demand. He added that while there will always be certain car brands that are targeted by criminals, the reality is that all makes and models are at risk, and that South African drivers should always be vigilant.
Concerning the types of vehicles being hijacked, the recent SAPS statistics show that hatchbacks and sedans remain the most popular targets – 10 875 cases. This is followed by bakkies (4 274), trucks (1 124) and micro-buses (480).
When looking at the brands most targeted by hijackers, it is important to note that the results are likely due to the popularity of these brands on South Africa’s roads. The five least hijacked brands, for example, were Chrysler (3), Volvo (5), Yamaha (7), Jaguar (8) and GWM/Porsche (9) – brands that are relatively uncommon or unaffordable to the general public, and therefore less abundant.
It may come as no surprise, then, that Toyota far outranked the rest, becoming the most wanted brand of vehicle among hijackers.
5 253 Toyota vehicles were hijacked between April 1 2018 and March 31 2019, followed by Volkswagen (2 877), Nissan (1 303), Ford (1 090) and Hyundai (949) to round up the top five.
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