File picture: Gary van Wyk / Independent Media.

Cape Town - Vehicle hijackings in South Africa declined by 2.3 percent in the last year, but still remain close to 10-year highs.

According to the 2017/18 national crime statistics released in Parliament on Tuesday, 16 325 hijackings were recorded in the country in the 2017/18 counting period, versus 16 717 in 2016/17. That’s 44 carjackings a day.

This is the second highest occurrence that we’ve seen in the last decade, and 73 percent up on 2011/12, albeit the latter was after a significant decline.

Numbers by province

Gauteng is still by far South Africa’s car hijacking capital, with 8269 incidents recorded in 2017/18, albeit a 4 percent decrease from the previous year.

KwaZulu-Natal came a distant second with 2698 hijackings recorded, an encouraging 10.9 percent decrease, while the Western Cape came in third with 2182 carjackings, 0.9 percent fewer than the year before.

These were the only provinces that experienced decreases, however, with Limpopo province up 27.2 percent to 584, Mpumalanga up 10.6 percent to 896, the North West up 9.0 percent (425), Eastern Cape 4.6 percent (999) and Free State 0.4 percent (235).

The biggest increase in hijackings took place in the Northern Cape however - 27.6 percent - although this comes off a rather low base, from 29 to 38 vehicles.

Truck hijackings in South Africa were up 1.6 percent over the previous period, from 1183 to 1202.

Cash-in-transit heists increased by an alarming 65.6 percent to 238, although this comes as no surprise following the much publicised spate of crimes earlier this year.

Conventional car and motorcycle thefts were down 5.0 percent in 2017/18, to 50 663, which is a new 10-year low and 33 percent down on 2008/09.

IOL Motoring