Here's where your stolen car ends up

28 February 2017 - 23:05
By TMG Digital
Image: iStock

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.

This is according to Ryno Schutte from Pro-Active South Africa‚ who says the contribution of real-time intelligence could help lower these statistics.

Nearly half (49.7% or 34‚013) vehicle crimes (Theft and Hijacking) in 2015/2016 occurred in Gauteng‚ 16.32% (11‚166) occurred in KwaZulu-Natal and 15.2% (10‚410) occurred in the Western Cape.

Reviewing police statistics and the vehicle crime data from the recent Victims of Crime Survey‚ he said 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". Over half occurred away from home‚ which confirms past surveys and statistics released.

Most vehicle thefts (45.8%) took place at night‚ 33.1% in the afternoon‚ 18.1% in the morning hours and 3.1% listed as unknown.

A firearm was used by perpetrators in 75.5% of hijackings‚ and a knife 32.2% of the time. In 15.4% of cases‚ an axe was used‚ in 13.8% of cases a metal object was used and in 9.3% of incidents a stick was used.

Households who experienced the loss of a vehicle by population group in 2015/2016 indicated that 0.99% were white‚ 0.22% were black Africans‚ 0.9% Coloured and 0.8% Indian/Asian.

Commenting on the data‚ Schutte said 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.

"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% indicating they believed that the police won’t do anything about the incident." Households that reported the vehicle theft incidents to other institutions other than the police indicated that 6.4% reported it to the Community Police Forum‚ 20.7% reported it to a Private Security Institution and 68.3% reported the incident to their Insurance.

However‚ 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.

He noted there has been a significant increase of hijackings in South Africa during the period 2012 to 2015/2016‚ from 9‚540 in 2012 to 14‚602 last year.

Theft of motor vehicles declined from 59‚120 to 53‚809 in the same time period.

"Though there has been a significant reduction in vehicle theft‚ it can be deemed that vehicle crime has become more violent‚" said Schutte. "It can be contributed to increased vehicle safety measures being implemented on new vehicles and the vehicle key that is required to operate the vehicles‚ which places vehicle owners at higher risk."

Households that reported hijacking incidents to other institutions other than the police indicated that 9.3% reported them to Traditional Authorities‚ 12.2% to Private Security Institutions‚ 43.3% to the Insurance Company while 35.3% reported the incident classified under "other".

Schutte concluded that effective intelligence sharing of vehicle theft incidents could not only reduce this kind of crime‚ but also help combat armed robberies and drug trafficking.