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Hijacking in SA: 76.5% of motorists 'solve' incidents themselves

2017-03-14 08:20

Janine Van der Post

SHOCKING STATS: The SA Police Service released shocking stats regarding vehicle crime in SA. Image: YouTube

Cape Town - More than 1400 vehicles are hijacked each month in South Africa, according to the latest crime statistics by the South African Police Service's (SAPS).

The SAPS crime statistics, for April - December 2016, report an increase in so-called “trio crimes”; car-hijacking, house robberies and robberies at non-residential areas.

14.9% increase in carjackings

Norman Sekhukhune, SAPS Head of Crime Research and Statistics, said that in nine months carjackings had increased by 14.9%. From April and December, 12 743 vehicles were hijacked, compared to 11 086 during the same period in 2015.

Vehicle tracking specialists, Pro-Active South Africa, has assessed the report and measured the impact of the crime survey.

Pro-Active Ryno Schutte says: "There are over 12 009 553 Live Vehicles in South Africa registered ending January 2017. With a mere 35% of vehicles being insured and 65% of vehicles on SA roads are un-insured. The previous un-insured vehicles are mostly due to being too costly to insure or the vehicles are not worth insuring as they are between 7–20-years-old."

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The theft of motor vehicles is a profession like any other and the criminals are engaging in the activities for monetary benefit says Pro-Active; 36.4% of vehicles are disposed of within South Africa and 57.6% are exported to bordering countries.

Schutte adds: "Vehicle owners are prone to relax the closer they get home as your home is supposedly your safe haven and no harm is expected. Unfortunately the criminal element takes advantage of this and strikes when you most vulnerable and unexpectedly."

Most feared crimes

Theft of motor vehicles and hijacking is a daily occurrence, while theft of motor vehicle is ranked 9th and hijacking 10th as the "most feared crimes in SA".

SAPS reports that in 2015/2016, 90.9% of vehicle thefts were reported to the police, while only 86.9% of hijackings were reported to the police. There has been a decline in theft of motor vehicle reported to the police from 2012–2015/2016 with 93.8% of incidents being reported in 2012 and only 89.5% of incidents being reported in 2015/2016.

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Hijacked vehicles reported to the police from 2012 - 2015/2016 has seen an increase from 80.6% in 2012 to 86.9% in 2015/2016. Though 2013 indicated a 100% of hijacked vehicles being reported to the police.

The reasoning by households for not reporting motor vehicle theft incidents to the police in 2015/2016 depict that 22.4% solved the incident themselves, 54.1% solved the incident through their family, with a staggering 23.5% believed that the police won’t do anything about the incident

Theft of motor vehicle occurrences can be concluded that in 2015/2016 47.7% of incidents took place at home, 17% in a parking lot, 15.4% on the street in a residential area, 13.1% on the street in town, 5.3% outside the office/shops/at work and 1.4% was classified under other. 52.2% of incidents occurred away from home which confirms past surveys and statistics released.

The percentage of vehicle theft incidents occurring was indicated as 45.8% at night, 33.1% in the afternoon, 18.1% in the morning hours and 3.1% as unknown.

READ: Hijacking hotspots - Most targeted cars, bakkies in SA

5 things to know about vehicle crime in SA

Schutte says: "Pro-Active South Africa simplified the Victims of Crime Survey and it was adapted to only portray Victims of Vehicle Crime.

"The reason for the previous mentioned is due to the high report rate of vehicle crimes with only Murder ranking higher. By simplifying and understanding the impact of vehicle crime can provide corporate institutions a glimpse at the impact on other forms of crime if vehicle crime is dealt with effectively."

A few key points can be taken from the Survey conducted:

1. Effective Intelligence gathering and sharing is key to combat vehicle crime.

2. By implementing effective intelligence gathering and sharing will have an impact on other forms of crime.

3. More than half of the households took physical protection measures for their homes and slightly more than a third of vehicle owners took protection measures for their vehicles.

4. 52.2% of incidents occurred away from home.

5. South Africa loses over R8.5-billion to vehicle theft and hijacking. Of the vehicles stolen, 57% are taken across the border, 36% filter back into South Africa as cloned vehicles and the rest land in chop shops.

Tips to help avoid a hijacking: 

1. When approaching your vehicle, keep your key ready but not visible. Unlock your car when you're close by.

2. Check the rear seat before getting into your car.

3. A well-maintained car is less likely to break down and leave you vulnerable.

4. Plan your route and let someone know what your route is and when to expect you at your destination.

5. Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight. Leave your window slightly open as it more flexible / difficult to break.

6. Avoid distractions while driving such as using a cellphone.

7. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to your nearest police station or a busy public area.

8. When approaching a red traffic light, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.

9. Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear of shrubbery.

10. If possible, park in a central, well-lit place, preferably with guards on duty.

11. When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.

12. Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis.

READ: Hijacking hotspots - Readers share crime-prone roads in SA

13. Hijacking trends change constantly. Be alert and if anything looks suspicious rather be safe and drive around the block and contact the SAPS or your Security Service Provider requesting an escort to your premises. 

14. If your vehicle is damaged (tyre or windscreen) while driving don’t stop immediately. Drive to a well lit area or away from where the incident occurred and inspect the damages. 

15. Lower your music and use your mirrors to confirm that you are not being followed about 1km from your destination.

16. Put away your cellphone and eliminate any distractions.

17. Make arriving at your destination safer by calling ahead and asking someone to open and close your gate for you.

18. Before entering your premises if alone, park parallel to your home while opening the gate with the remote.

19. In the event of a hijacking, keep your hands visible at all times as the suspects are as nervous as you. Be submissive and listen to the suspects’ instructions, human life is worth more than a vehicle. Do not resist.

20. Place your child that is in a baby seat behind you to remove the child with ease. Indicate to the suspect that you have a child in the backseat and remove the child by shielding him / her as much as possible.

21. Remain calm and try to identify any useful information about the hijackers without staring at them. Create time and space as quickly as possible between yourself and the treat.

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