South African crime rates are indeed legendary, and can be quite scary especially when you are looking at the number of incidents and level of crime happening in the country regularly. According to reports, around 182 motor vehicles are taken, stolen or hijacked on a daily basis from owners and tourists. Vehicle tracking and recovery services are popular among South African motorists, while some insurance companies even insist that they are installed into every motor vehicle.

Which City Do Most Car Hijacking Crimes Occur?

According to the same reports, more than half of all vehicle-related crimes in South Africa happen in Gauteng, with hijackings more prevalent in Johannesburg and theft mainly occurring in Pretoria. The suburbs in Gauteng most affected by hijacking are Kensington, Arcadia and Eldorado Park, while the Pretoria CBD, Arcadia and Sunnyside have the most activation for theft.

In Kwa-Zulu 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. Other theft and hijacking hotspots in South Africa included eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Ibhayi in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in the North West, Polokwane in Limpopo and Bloemfontein in the Free State.

While the Northern Cape has less than 1 percent of the total reported vehicle-related crimes, hijackings are primarily reported in Postmasburg and theft in Kimberley. Reports also indicate that most vehicles are hijacked or stolen on a Saturday, followed by Thursday and Friday. Most hijackings are reported between 20:00 and 21:00 followed by 12:00 and 14:00, while theft of a vehicle is reported between 11:00 and 14:00.

What Type of Techniques are Used to Hijack Cars?

Techniques used may include criminals impersonating law enforcement officials in order to commit hijackings, a method otherwise known as blue light robberies; the spiking of drinks in order to take advantage of unsuspecting victims; and vehicle theft using online selling platforms, where sellers hand over goods on receipt of a fake payment. In terms of business crime, most vehicles are being stolen to obtain the fast-moving consumables that they are carrying. In addition, there are instances where the vehicle itself is sought.

What Type of Vehicle Models are Hijacked the Most?

When considering the type of cars being hijacked, reports have it that sedans and hatchbacks are still the most popular targets for criminals (10,875 hijackings). This is followed by bakkies (4,274), trucks (1,124) and micro-buses (480). When looking at the brands most targeted by hijackers, Toyota comes out top (5,253), followed by Volkswagen (2,877) and Nissan (1,303).

These hijackers typically use a firearm when hijacking a vehicle (14,381 cases), however, there have also been cases where an attacker used their hands (1,088 cases) or a blunt instrument (1,104). When gaining control of the vehicle, hijackers mostly point or threaten with their weapon (12,857 reported cases), grabbing the victim (2,794 cases) or shooting the driver (368 cases), according to reports.

The Most Frequently Stolen or Hijacked Cars in South Africa

From data available, Toyota is the most hijacked car in South Africa. Vehicle tracking company Ctrack occasionally release data on the most hijacked vehicles in South Africa, and the areas where hijackings are most likely to occur. According to their last report, the most targeted vehicles by hijackers from April 1 2019 to September 2020 include:

  1. Toyota – 5,253
  2. Volkswagen – 2,877
  3. Nissan – 1,303
  4. Ford – 1,090
  5. Hyundai – 949
  6. Isuzu – 866
  7. Mercedes Benz – 775
  8. BMW – 598
  9. Chevrolet – 424
  10. Kia – 407
  11. Opel – 400
  12. Mazda – 394
  13. Audi – 363
  14. Honda – 301
  15. Renault – 232
  16. Tata – 87
  17. Landrover – 85
  18. Mitshibushi – 77
  19. Fiat – 68
  20. Daihatsu – 68
  21. Datsun – 67
  22. Jeep – 52
  23. Peugeot – 46
  24. Citroen – 26
  25. Lexus – 19
  26. Mahindra – 18
  27. Daewoo – 13
  28. Dodge – 12
  29. Porsche – 9
  30. GWM – 9
  31. Jaguar – 8
  32. Yamaha – 7
  33. Volvo – 5
  34. Chrysler – 3

6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Being Carjacked in South Africa

Always have it in mind that carjackers go for popular vehicles which are easy to resell or use the parts in other vehicles. As a result, the most hijacked vehicles in South Africa are the Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

Also, hijackers tend to target commercial vehicles for the load, or high-value SUVs that are stolen “to order”. In this category the Hilux, Ranger and BMW X5 all seem to be popular targets. Nonetheless, here are few tips to remember to reduce the risk of your car being hijacked in South Africa;

  1. Stay Vigilant Close to Home

According to reports, most car hijackings happen at home, where you are a softer target. As you get closer to home, always stay vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious cars following you, or people hanging around the street. If you feel uneasy, keep driving.

  1. Pay Special Attention at Intersections

Have it in mind that a good percentage of hijackings happen at intersections even busy ones in broad daylight. Therefore, be wary of anyone trying to distract your or command your attention, like tapping on your window. Also check your mirrors and surroundings constantly to make sure no one is sneaking up you from a blind spot.

  1. Keep Moving as Long as Possible

To be hijacked, you car will have to be stationery. Therefore when driving up to your home, don’t pull up in front of your gate and open it – this way you become boxed-in. Wait in the road until your gate is fully open before you drive in. Close it again as soon as possible.

  1. Back It Up

Shopping centres are also another popular hotspot among hijackers. If possible, reverse your car into a parking a spot against a wall so that you have a better view of your surroundings while packing away your purchases into your boot.

  1. Be Prepared

Hijackings are extremely stressful and a cool head is needed in this life-threatening situation. In addition, always remember that the hijackers will have heightened adrenalin and stress, so do your best not to agitate them. It also helps to practice a hijacking situation beforehand – especially if you drive with children. Should you ever be faced with a real-life hijacking situation, you and your kids will be better prepared to handle the situation.

  1. Avoid Hijacking Hotspots

Vehicle tracking company Ctrack has compiled a handy map of hijacking hotspots in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, based on information from the SAPS, tracking companies and the SAICB. Always be weary of these locations and be vigilant once you are nearing them.

Conclusion

If you have one of the more popular vehicles or even if you don’t, South Africa is a place where you don’t have to take chances. Always make sure you install anti-theft devices like alarm systems, as well as avoiding known danger areas and trying to avoid driving at night. There are different types of vehicle tracking devices and added services available in the market that offer greater care and protection for the families that invest in them.

Ajaero Tony Martins