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Hijacking Trends You Need To Watch Out For In SA!

The rate of hijacking in South Africa increases each and every year. We take a look at the most popular hijacking trends making the rounds.
According to a report by the South African Police Service, hijacking incidents between 2016 and 2017 increased by 14.5%. The 2016/2017 Victims of Crime Survey revealed that 30 664 South Africans were victims of a hijacking during that period. That’s an average of 84 hijackings per day. Four every hour. These numbers are reason enough to take necessary precautions on South African roads. Every motorist needs to be aware of the dangers around them.
"Hijackers are pouncing on unsuspecting vehicle owners wherever the opportunity presents itself," said Warwick Scott-Rodger, executive head of Dialdirect. "Theirs is a multimillion-rand industry in which anything from a meticulously planned hijacking to more opportunistic hits are just another day at the office. South African vehicle owners have to take this very seriously and be thoroughly prepared."
Dialdirect’s crime statistics have revealed the top vehicle hijacking trends in South Africa. Let’s take a look.
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Top Hijacking Trends In South Africa

A horrifying realisation is that in all of the incidents below, having your vehicle stolen could be the very least of your concerns. We’ve often reported on hijacking stats, and we’ve also offered numerous tips on how to protect yourself and your family in the event of such an incident. Be vigilant when finding yourself in the following situations.  Always be aware of your surroundings, and be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour.

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.
  • Remain vigilant while filling up, especially at night or at quiet petrol stations;
  • Keep your doors locked and only open your window when it’s time to pay;
  • Watch your blind spots at all times.

Approached By Strangers

Motorists are approached in social areas such as bars or clubs who attempt to befriend them. They then spike the driver’s drink, steal the car keys and vanish with the vehicle.
  • Don’t trust anybody who offers you a drink out of the blue.
Likewise, never accompany strangers who suggest that you accompany them to a different venue.

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. Many South Africans are unaware of their rights when being pulled over by the police. Motorists are legally bound to stop for uniformed officers who pull them over to the side of the road. If you’re unsure, especially in the case of an unmarked vehicle, the best course of action is the following:
  • Remain calm;
  • Turn on your hazard lights to indicate that you are willing to cooperate;
  • Drive to the nearest police station.
If the officers are indeed genuine officers of the law, they will follow you to the police station.

House Robberies

Vehicle owners are overpowered during a home invasion and the vehicles are taken, along with all of their other valuables.
  • Keep your gates locked.
  • Know where your panic buttons are.
  • Keep your vehicle’s keys out of sight and in a safe place.
It goes without saying that we should always be vigilant in South Africa, even in the comfort of our own homes.

Followed Home

Hijackers follow the victim home and will attempt to box the driver in as they enter the property. They will then block the security gate from closing behind them and hijack the victim in their own driveway.
  • Sufficient lighting at the entrance to your property gives criminals one less place to lurk;
  • Be aware of suspicious vehicles following you. If you suspect that you are being tailed, make a couple of false turns and if need be, drive to the nearest police station;
  • Approach your driveway in a way that makes it easier for you to escape, should another vehicle stop behind you;
  • Even when driving out on the roads, leave enough space around your car to prevent getting boxed in.

Noteworthy Hijacking Stats

Unsurprisingly, the majority of hijackings still take place in Gauteng. This is followed by KZN and then the Western Cape. Gauteng saw an increase of 16.9% and KZN an increase of 21.5%. When it comes to the highest hijacking rates by area, Nyanga in the Western Cape came out on top with 257 incidents in 2017. Booysens in Johannesburg maintained its second-place rank from the previous year, and Pinetown tied with Jeppe for third. New areas making the recent top ten list include Rietgat, Ivory Park, Delft and Harare.   When it comes to car brands, it’s fair to assume that criminals will steal any car they can. According to vehicle tracking company, Ctrack, the most stolen or hijacked brands from 2016 were as follows:
  • Passenger Vehicles: Volkswagen was the most popular make, with the Polo being the model most hijacked. Following closely were models by Toyota, and then Ford.
  • SUVs: Toyota was the most popular make, with the Fortuner targeted above any other. This was followed by models by Land Rover and Nissan.
  • Manufacturer Trucks: Hijackers found the Nissan trucks the most appealing, followed closely by Scania.
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