Vehicle hijacking is now more prevalent than theft

Tracker South Africa’s latest vehicle crime statistics are a reminder for motorists to be wary and always remain vigilant. Trends show that hijacking is still on the rise and criminals are becoming savvier, targeting not only vehicles but also the goods being transported by these vehicles.

According to Tracker’s report, for the past three years, hijacking has been on the rise and is now more prevalent than theft. So far in 2021, 54% of Tracker’s vehicle crime activities were hijackings while 46% were theft. The last time hijacking overtook theft was in 1999 with a 52/48% split.

  • Vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly fast-moving consumable goods
  • Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted

  • Hijackings are often violent and in some instances hostages are taken
  • Criminals impersonating law enforcement officers – also known as Blue Light Robberies
  • Theft of vehicles being sold online, with fake payments
  • Criminals distract drivers by telling them something is wrong with the vehicle – known as ‘flagging down’
  • Thieves pose as hijackers and target good Samaritans who stop to pick them up

  • Stay alert at all times
  • Change your routes
  • Get an electric gate
  • Slow your speed when approaching traffic lights
  • Keep your car locked and your windows closed
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a car’s length in front so you can make an emergency escape if necessary.
  • When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed response company if they offer a service of accompanying you home. Be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.
  • When parking, check rear view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers or strangers.
  • Hijackers may fake a small accident, like bumping you from behind. If you don’t feel comfortable with the driver, indicate that they must follow you and drive to the nearest police station or any busy public area for help.
  • Don’t open your window or door for any stranger. If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach it. Rather go to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.
  • If you see any obstacles in the road such as rocks or tyres, don’t get out of your car to remove them. Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.

  • Remain calm
  • Don’t fight
  • Don’t make sudden gestures
  • Do not make sudden gestures
  • Avoid eye contact with the hijackers
  • Give them what they want – your life is worth more than your car
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