More than 16,000 cars are stolen or hijacked each and every year, and this number isn’t decreasing anytime soon. The province with the highest occurrence of occurrence of this crime is with no surprise, Gauteng, where the population is dense and traffic a common occurrence. As this issue is not a new phenomenon in South Africa, many of us have already taken precautions to avoid this type of crime. We religiously lock our cars when driving or parking our cars, we generally keep our windows closed, and we’ve installed alarms, trackers and other deterrent systems. However, time and time again this has proved to have little to no effect on our safety. The problem is also that criminals no longer simply take our cars and leave, but instead resort to violent attacks against individuals and families.

Violence during hijacking increases

According to a report by Tracker, one in ten hijacking incidents prove fatal. The criminals inflict physical harm on their victims as a means to persuade cooperation. Victims have been shot, stabbed and assaulted, the injuries of this often leading to very serious medical implications. Not to mention the very serious mental and psychological damage caused by this traumatic incident. Hijackers have even targeted those with children in the car, affecting vulnerable families on the roads.

It is imperative to avoid a hijacking at all costs. The main way to avoid an incident is by avoiding areas known for these crimes, or “hot-spots.”

Which are the worst areas for hijacking?

You should be vigilant at all times on the road. However, there are particular areas in South Africa for hijacking that include:

  • Nyanga, Western Cape -276 reported hijackings
  • Jeppe, Gauteng – 262 reported hijackings
  • Booysens, Gauteng – 198
  • Honeydew, Gauteng – 184
  • Moffatview, Gauteng -183
  • Delft, Western Cape – 175
  • Johannesburg Central, Gauteng – 169
  • Kempton Park, Gauteng – 168
  • Vosloorus, Gauteng – 158
  • Tembisa, Gauteng – 156
  • Umlazi, KwaZulu Natal – 150
  • Khayelitsha, Western Cape – 144
  • Cleveland, Gauteng – 143
  • Dobsonville, Gauteng – 142
  • Kwazakele, Eastern Cape – 139
  • Moroka, Gauteng – 131
  • Mfuleni, Western Cape – 126
  • Roodepoort, Gauteng – 124
  • Harare, Western Cape – 124
  • Bramley, Gauteng – 123
  • Mamelodi East, Gauteng – 123
  • New Brighton, Eastern Cape – 122
  • Mondeor, Gauteng – 121
  • Alexandra, Gauteng – 120
  • Soshanguve, Gauteng – 120
  • Pinetown, KwaZulu Natal – 117
  • Atteridgeville, Gauteng – 113
  • Ivory Park, Gauteng – 112
  • Florida, Gauteng – 109
  • Rietgat, Gauteng – 108

Who are the biggest targets?

According to statistics, the types of cars that are hijacked include mostly vehicles that are under five years old. These newer vehicles have a higher resell value – whether that is for the car itself or the parts on the car. There is also a rapid increase in four-wheel drive vehicles stolen. What is the number one car targeted? Toyotas, as this type of engine is widely used for minibus taxis.

When hijacking becomes life-threatening

Hijackers often steal cars out of desperation and don’t consider the impact of the victims. Things can turn ugly very quickly as adrenaline and emotions run high.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family?

  • Vigilance is key – always be aware of your surroundings, especially situations where your car is stopped
  • Take extra caution when stopped at an intersection, when filling up petrol or when arriving at your destination – these are key spots for hijackings
  • Be aware of being stopped by false police officers that pull people over – if you are unsure if these are imposters or not, turn on your hazards, slow down and head to the nearest police station
  • Take note of being followed home or to work, and don’t stop at your destination if you suspect you are being followed

What to do in event of a hijacking

  • Stay calm and listen to the demands of the hijackers
  • Be careful to not look them directly in the eye
  • Never argue with a hijacker
  • Don’t make any sudden or fast movements
  • Don’t reach for any belongings

Overall the most important thing to remember is that your life is more important than your car or belongings. If you require protection during travel for your family, don’t hesitate to contact us.