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South Africans continue to battle vehicle theft epidemic

Hijackings in South Africa have gone up by 55% in four years, according to a recent report on IOL.co.za. This amounts to almost 40 vehicles a day. The country’s declining economy and escalating unemployment have resulted in an increase in crime, including vehicle theft. Some areas seem to be particularly dangerous for hijackings. We look at these hijacking hotspots and what to do if you’re the victim of a hijacking.

Hijacking hotspots in South Africa

Almost two out of every three vehicle theft and car-hijacking crimes in South Africa occur in Gauteng, states the report. This makes Gauteng the top province on the list of hijacking hotspots. Next comes KwaZulu-Natal at 15% of hijackings, followed by the Western Cape with 5% and Mpumalanga at 3%.

Hijacking hotspots in Gauteng

Ryno Schutte, security expert and managing director of Pro-ActiveSA, who was interviewed on Radio 702 highlighted the hijacking hotspots to avoid. The places in Gauteng most plagued by hijackings are Booysens, Jeppestown, Soshanguve, Kagiso, Yeoville, Honeydew, Roodepoort, Brooklyn, Boksburg, Alberton, Linden, Krugersdorp, Kempton Park and the Joburg CBD.

Most stolen cars

Another report published in Business Tech in February listed the vehicle brands and models that are hijacking targets in South Africa. The most hijacked passenger vehicle is the Volkswagen Polo. The top 10 most stolen brands are VW, Toyota, Ford, Citroen, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Renault and Chevrolet.

Toyota’s Fortuner is the most hijacked 4X4, followed by the Land Rover and Nissan brands. Nissan and Scania trucks are most targeted by criminals followed by Hino, Isuzu, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

What to do if you are hijacked

If you are an unfortunate victim, keep the following expert tips in mind:

  • Co-operate with your hijackers as much as possible.
  • Show that you are unarmed by raising your hands slowly above your head.
  • Exit your vehicle slowly.
  • If there are children in the vehicle, calmly tell your hijackers that you need to take them out.

Hijackings usually take place when people are returning from work between 5pm-8pm. Driveways are often targeted as criminals know that motorists will stop to open or close the gate. People should be vigilant when they enter or leave their driveways. It’s important to keep an eye out for suspicious cars and individuals on the road. Other places where cars are stationary, like traffic lights, can also be targeted. Criminals can also try to get drivers to leave their vehicles by throwing something on the windscreen or pretending there is something wrong with the vehicle.

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