Big jump in hijackings in South Africa – these are the hotspot areas

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South Africa’s crime statistics for Q3 2021/2022 show another steep increase in hijackings across the country.

The data, which was presented by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to parliament on Friday (18 February), covers the period between October and December 2021.

A total of 5,455 hijackings were reported across the country over the period – a 13.8% increase from the 4,794 hijackings reported over the same period the previous year.

However, annual trends show that hijackings remained largely flat over the three-month period, moving from a high of 1,919 incidents in October 2021 to 1,732 incidents in December 2021.

As with the country’s other major crimes statistics, the majority of the cases were reported in the most populous areas. Most carjacking cases were reported in Gauteng (2,824), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (845) and the Western Cape (692).

The table below highlights the areas which have had the most hijacking cases reported to their respective police stations in the third quarter.

Harare in the Western Cape reported the most carjackings (106), followed by Nyanga (87), and Phillipi East (79).

Keeping safe 

“The best way to protect yourself from a carjacking is to be aware of your surroundings and do whatever you can to prevent it from happening altogether,” says Eugene Herbert, chief executive of MasterDrive.

While it is essential to be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself as far as possible, it is also important to understand it is not always preventable, Herbert said.

“For this, drivers are recommended to learn what they should do to increase their chances to safely remove themselves from that situation. While MasterDrive cannot advise drivers what to do should they be kidnapped, there are certain precautions that can help should the worst happen.

This includes making sure that your loved ones always know where you are and what time to expect you home, he said.

“Install apps on your phone that friends and family can use to track your location should you not arrive on time. Investigate high-risk vehicles and areas. This is not to say you shouldn’t drive in those areas or with those cars, knowledge of this can help you make the best decisions for your safety.”

Herbert said motorists should follow these important rules to ensure this as far as is possible:

  • Keep an eye on the car behind you, if they have followed you for a while, particularly if you are coming home from shopping centres or places like the airport, do not turn into your driveway. Rather drive to a place of safety such as a petrol station and get assistance there.
  • Most armed response companies offer services where they see you into your house when you arrive home, especially at night. Make use of these whenever necessary.
  • Do not drive straight into your driveway but rather wait for the gates to open while parallel to your driveway.
  • At intersections do not look at your phone and be aware of the people there that could pose a threat to you.
  • At shopping malls reverse park into a space, preferably against a wall, to prevent someone catching you unaware from behind and to allow you to exit the parking quickly.
  • If you feel uncomfortable with the presence of someone in the parking lot, ask a security guard to walk you to your car.
  • Ultimately, rather be safe than sorry: do an extra circle around the block or ask someone for assistance rather than regret it.

Read: How much money truck drivers earn in South Africa

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