Pretoria - The administrative capital of South Africa also happens to be the car crime capital, with the heart of the Pretoria CBD having recorded the highest number of vehicle-related crimes, followed by Sunnyside.
This was revealed in a study conducted by the Lightstone Property Group for the 2015/16 financial year.
Pretoria central came out tops with the highest number of vehicle crime cases last year. These crimes included stealing from vehicles, car theft and car hijackings.
The report said the Pretoria CBD recorded a total of 1079 vehicle-related crimes during that period, which included 851 cases of items stolen from inside cars and 223 cases of vehicle theft. However, the city centre recorded a mere five car hijackings.
Sunnyside recorded 964 cases of vehicle crime, including 704 cases of items stolen from inside a vehicle, 196 vehicle thefts and 64 hijackings.
Joburg central came third in the overall car crime rankings, with 845 overall. This included 496 thefts from vehicles and 162 vehicle thefts. However, the Joburg CBD recorded by far the highest number of hijackings - a staggering 187.
Cape Town's Khayelitsha ranked fourth in the country for vehicle crimes, with 595 thefts from vehicles, 200 vehicle thefts and the second highest number of hijackings, at 45. Joburg's Joubert Park was fifth (541 + 263 + 7), followed by Durban central (726 + 71 + 0) and the Cape Town's Gardens suburb (609 + 81 + 0).
Lightstone used data from the SAPS annual crime statistics and then grouped the information to model the statistics down to a more granular level.
Sunnyside police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela said he was alarmed about Sunnyside’s ranking.
He said in almost all cases, criminals lifted items like laptops and cellphones from inside cars because motorists left them visibly exposed.
Mavimbela said car break-ins, either with the intention to steal the motor vehicles or property inside the vehicles, was a big concern to local police.
He said the majority of other car hijackings happen when motorists were engaging with unknown women on the side of the road, were waiting inside their vehicles, either for friends or girlfriends, and before or after entering the premises of various flats in the area.
He said there have been many calls from the police and other role players to discourage motorists from driving with valuables displayed on car seats, he said.
“Despite recent activities by the local police to curb motor vehicle related crimes in Sunnyside, these still remain the most prevalent crimes locally,” he said.
But it was not all doom and gloom for the the city and the country at large.
Granted, there were some areas where crime increased slightly from 2015 to 2016 – and with the differences being minimal – but for the most part, crime numbers are incontrovertibly down, the report said.
Livingstone said recent crime statistics revealed a drop in residential and non-residential crime in 2016, both in terms of absolute values and as a percentage of the population. That, it said, was good news for residential and commercial property owners.