Tracker reveals when and where hijackers are most likely to pounce

Experts say vehicle thefts and hijackings increase in October and November

17 October 2019 - 11:38 By Motoring Reporter
Most hijackings happen between 10am and 2pm, and 8pm to midnight, on any day of the week. Vehicle thefts mainly happen between 5am and 8am.
Most hijackings happen between 10am and 2pm, and 8pm to midnight, on any day of the week. Vehicle thefts mainly happen between 5am and 8am.
Image: Kiattisak Lamchan / 123rf

The results of the quarterly Tracker vehicle crime index reveal when and where vehicle crime is most likely to occur in SA.

The index shows that vehicle theft and hijacking trends are unchanged from the annual crime index released in August.

The statistics, from Tracker’s 1.1-million installed vehicle base for the period July to September 2019, provide insights into the time of day and day of the week when vehicle crime is most likely to occur. The index shows the towns most affected by vehicle crime in all nine provinces, and the current trends in consumer and business crime.

Where does it happen?

The majority (58%) of all activations in which Tracker initiated recovery action are in Gauteng, followed (in descending order) by KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, North West, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape.

Johannesburg, Durban, Khayelitsha, Rustenburg, Tweefontein, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Postmasburg are the towns in each province worst affected by hijacking.

Theft is mostly reported in Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Rustenburg, eMalahleni, Mthatha, Sasolburg, Polokwane and Kuruman.

What days and times are criminals most likely to pounce?

Tracker data indicates that the most activations for hijackings take place on Saturdays followed by Thursdays, while vehicles are activated for theft equally on Friday and Saturday. Most activations for hijackings take place between 10am and 2pm as well as between 8pm and midnight, on any day of the week, while theft activations occur mainly between 5am and 8am.

Do these criminals ever take hostages?

Hostage-taking during hijackings remains a concern. Similar to the company’s vehicle crime statistics for the period July 2018 to June 2019, an average of 29% of Tracker’s activations result in a hostage being taken, with 1% suffering a physical injury or death.

Hijackers impersonating law enforcement officials, also known as blue light robberies, remain a concern. Business crime trends are unchanged with most of these vehicles being stolen to obtain the fast-moving consumable goods that they are carrying. However, there are instances where the vehicle itself is sought.

Are there any hijacking hotspots I should be particularly aware of?

Hijacking hotspot routes include the N3 from Heidelberg to Vosloorus, the N12 from Phola to Daveyton, South Rand Road (N17), the R50/Delmas Road, the N14, the R512, the Moroka Bypass on the N12, the Molefe Makinta Highway (M21), the Sybrand van Niekerk Freeway (R59) and the R21. However, hotspots can and do change frequently, therefore Tracker advises people to be vigilant wherever they go.

Are hijackers ever caught?

Tracker reports 1,524 vehicle recoveries, 315 arrests and 14 firearm recoveries for the quarter, which adds to the company’s total of over 96,000 vehicle recoveries, more than 18,500 arrests and nearly 1,000 firearm recoveries since 1996.

In closing

“While the 2018/2019 SAPS crime statistics noted a national decrease of 1.8% in car and truck hijackings and a national decrease of 4.6% in vehicle theft, vehicle-related crime remains high with a total 17,208 car and truck hijackings and 48,324 vehicles reported stolen,” says Ron Knott-Craig, executive for operational services at Tracker South Africa.

“The SAPS figures combined with Tracker’s statistics, which note a consistency in vehicle crime trends, indicate that South Africans should be wary and remain vigilant at all times. South Africans should be particularly vigilant at this time of year, as we have in the past noted a peak in vehicle-related crimes during October and November.”