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The Stats Are In! Beware The Latest Hijack Hotspots

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2019-08-28
Thanks to improved anti-theft technology our locked cars are a lot safer, but vehicle hijackings have seen an astounding increase. The stats are in! Let's take a look at the suburbs and streets in South Africa most prone to hijackings, and the horrific trends you need to watch out for.

Tracker has released its annual vehicle crime statistics – taken from its 1.1 million installed vehicle base – which offers insight into vehicle theft and hijacking trends across South Africa. 

The index records the suburbs most affected in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – the provinces that encounter the highest rates in vehicle crime – as well as the times and days when these crimes are most likely to occur. 

Likewise, the National Hijacking Prevention Academy (NHPA) recently released updated information on the state of hijacking in South Africa, and a list of hijacking hotspots in the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.

Let’s take a look at how these criminals operate and where they’re most likely to strike.

The State Of Affairs – Know The Trends

Between July 2018 and June 2019, Tracker reported 5 438 vehicles recovered, 1037 arrests and 50 firearms recovered. 

According to the NHPA, it has become increasingly difficult to steal a locked motor vehicle thanks to better anti-theft technologies, and this, in turn, has led to a dramatic increase in hijackings. Steal the car while it’s running. 

According to the NHPA:

Vehicle hijacking is an organised business, run according to business principles and based on thorough planning. Specific vehicles with specific characteristics are ordered beforehand and efforts have to be made to meet the requirements of such orders.

Increased retrenchment, coupled with the already-high unemployment rate in South Africa, is a factor worth taking into account. People are desperate, and vehicle hijacking is easy money. Criminals now deploy a number of scams and tricks in order to accomplish their goals, and they’re worth knowing.

Fuel Stations: Drivers are approached by criminals at petrol stations while filling their tanks. They approach from the driver’s blind spot and force the driver out of the vehicle. 

Approached By Strangers: Motorists are approached in social areas such as bars or clubs by strangers, who then attempt to befriend them. They then spike the driver’s drink, steal the car keys and vanish with the vehicle. 

Blue Light Imposters: Motorists are pulled over by criminals posing as police or traffic officials. This often occurs with unmarked vehicles kitted out with nothing but a blue light. Upon pulling over, the driver is overpowered and relieved of their vehicle. 

Followed Home: Hijackers follow the victim home and will attempt to box the driver in as they enter the property. They will block the security gate from closing and hijack the victim in their own driveway.

We’ve gone into some detail about prominent hijacking trends across South Africa, and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you. You can read that article below:

Western Cape

In the Western Cape, hijacking hotspots include areas in and around Philippi, Khayelitsha and Maitland. Philippi, Claremont and Dunoon have seen increases in theft.

The Mother City itself has also seen an increase in hijackings. The following Cape Town streets and areas have been marked as hijack hotspots:

• Voortrekker road between Bellville and Parow;

• The Corner of Military road and Prince George Drive;

• St Stephens road;

• Driving along Alice Street, especially near Voortrekker road;

• Travelling along Station road;

• Travelling along Klipfontein road;

• The corner of Prestwich road and Ebenhezer;

• Travelling along Vangaurd Drive;

• Travelling on the R300 under the bridges towards the N1 highway.

Motorists have also been avoiding the N2 highway due to an increase in hijackings, stone-throwing and even petrol bombs. With 24/7 security patrol being introduced, drivers have still been urged to travel in groups. 

Gauteng

In Gauteng, suburbs most affected by hijacking are Kensington, Arcadia and Eldorado Park. Pretoria CBD, Arcadia and Sunnyside have seen the most Tracker activations for theft. 

Johannesburg is notorious for hijackings, consistently ranking at the top spot for most incidents. The East Rand, in particular, has seen a dramatic increase. Pretoria doesn’t rank too far behind. 

The following Johannesburg streets and areas have been marked as hijack hotspots. The list is long:

• The corner of Kelvin Street and CR Swart;

• The corner of Pretoria road and CR Swart;

• The corner of Elgin road and Pretoria road;

• Linksfield road off-ramp off the N3;

• Booysens road off-ramp off the M1;

• The Nelson Mandela Bridge, be alert;

• Wolmarans between Claim and Nugget;

• The corner of Harrow and Saratoga;

• The corner of Harrow and Abel;

• The Houghton Drive off-ramp off the M1;

• The corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and St Andrews;

• The corner of 17th Street and Krause Street in Pageview;

• The Heidelberg road off-ramp off the N17;

• Traffic lights on Kyalami Drive;

• The Beyers Naude offramp off the N1 highway;

• Rivonia off-ramp off the N1 highway in Sunninghill;

• Midrand Road near Clayville Residents;

• The intersection of Grayston and Rivonia and the intersection of Grayston and 11th Street;

• 11th Avenue and Empire road off-ramps;

• The Jan Smuts Avenue/ William Nicol Drive split in Hyde Park;

• Intersections on Witkoppen road;

• Bramley Precinct, areas such as Wynberg, Bramley, Marlboro and Kew;

• Yeoville Precinct, areas such as Yeoville, Bellevue and Bellevue East;

• The Norwood Precinct, areas such as Orange Grove and Highlands;

• The Sandringham Precinct, areas such as Glenhazel, Lombardy East and Sandringham;

• The Parkview Precinct, areas between 10th and 11th avenue and 4th and 7th Avenue in Parkhurst;

• The Hillbrow Precinct, areas such as Upper Houghton and Killarney;

• The Rosebank Precinct, areas such as Saxonwold and Parkwood;

• The intersection between Christiaan de Wet and Wilgerood Road in Roodepoort;

• Louis Botha Avenue, the M11. Be aware at the traffic lights, especially between Hillbrow and Alexandra;

• Riviera off-ramp coming off the M1;

• 11th Avenue in Fairland, near Fairland Ex. 6;

• The corner of Pretoria Main road and 1st Avenue in Alexandra;

• New road off-ramp coming off the N1, be aware at the robots;

• William Nichol off ramp coming off the N1 highway.

KwaZulu-Natal

In Natal, hijacking hotspots include areas in and around Sydenham, Imbali and Avoca Hills. Theft is mostly reported in Glenwood, Morningside and Musgrave.

The following Durban streets and areas have been marked as hijack hotspots:

• Alpine Road;

• Crossings on West Street;

• The corner of Warwick Avenue and Smith Street.

Other Hijacking Trends

Tracker’s latest data reveals that most hijackings take place on a Friday between 11h00 and 13h00, followed by Friday evening between 20h00 and 23h00. Vehicles activated for theft occurred mainly on Saturday between 12h00 and 14h00. These statistics are unchanged from last year.

Data from the NHPA corroborates this to some extent, showing that hijackings peak on Fridays due to traffic increasing earlier, and drivers being more relaxed. We're on autopilot. 

As stated by Ron Knott-Craig, executive operational services at Tracker South Africa, criminals recognise and take advantage of this complacency.

Hijackings decrease dramatically over Saturday and Sunday because there are fewer cars on the road, and this is also why theft increases. 

Syndicates reportedly check their stock and place orders for desired vehicles on Mondays, and so hijackings begin to peak again over the following two days. 

Hijackings reach their lowest point at around 02h00 in the morning, and increases as the day progresses, peaking between 16h00 to 20h00.

Tracker also noted, most horrifically, that it has seen an increase in hostage-taking during hijackings. On average, up to 29% of Tracker activations result in a hostage being taken.

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