File picture: Gcina Ndwalane/African News Agency.
File picture: Gcina Ndwalane/African News Agency.

This is the day on which most hijackings occur: Tracker

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Jan 22, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Tracker has released its latest Vehicle Crime Index, which covers the second half of 2019, and with it comes a few key insights into the scourge of vehicle hijacking and theft in South Africa.

According to the tracking and recovery specialist, which collects data from its 1.1 million subscriber base, Saturday is the day of the week on which most vehicles are hijacked or stolen. This is followed by Thursday in the case of hijackings and Friday for regular vehicle theft.

The data also shows that most hijackings are reported between 8pm and 9pm, followed by the two hour period between 12 noon and 2pm, regardless of the day of week. Most vehicle thefts, on the other hand, are reported between 11am and 2pm.

As you’d expect based on previous stats, Gauteng has by far the highest percentage of vehicle crimes, at 54 percent, and here Johannesburg is the hotspot for hijackings and Pretoria takes the lead for vehicle theft. KwaZulu-Natal is the second most prevalent province for car crime, with Durban being the top spot for both hijacking and theft, while the Western Cape takes third spot, with Khayelitsha being the carjack capital and the city of Cape Town recording the most thefts.

Other hijacking hotspots, according to Tracker, are Rustenberg in the North West, eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Polokwane in Limpopo, Bloemfontein in the Free State and Ibhayi in the Eastern Cape.

The sparsely populated Northern Cape experiences very little in the way of car crime, accounting for less than one percent of activations, with hijackings primarily taking place in Postmasburg and thefts in Kimberley.

How to avoid a hijacking, or survive one

There are numerous practical tips that one can follow to avoid becoming a hijacking statistic. These are some of the best pointers, provided by Dial Direct:

Check your tail: If you suspect you’re being followed, make a couple of false turns. If somebody is still following you, drive to the nearest police station. You should also avoid pulling into your driveway if there is another car behind you. Rather make a loop around the block or turn around at the nearest spot where you're safe from being boxed in.

Go electric: Many hijackings happen just as you are entering or leaving your home. Having a well-lit, shrub-free driveway and an electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) can help you get in and out safely. Also use the remote to close the gate behind you, rather than waiting for the self-timer. This limits a criminal’s window of opportunity.

Plan your route: Use a GPS to avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target. Inform the people / person at your destination about your estimated time of arrival.

Stay alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for anything suspicious. Limit distractions, such as checking or talking on your cell phone, when walking to or from your car.

Lock up: Avoid driving with windows open, keep the doors locked and lock valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.

Mix things up: Vary the routes you take to make it less predictable for criminals.

Allow space: Leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to avoid being boxed in.

Savvy stopping: Slow down in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach a traffic light, especially late at night - this avoids you coming to a complete stop and reduces your risk of becoming a target.

Pick your parking spot: Always park in a safe, well-lit area.

Use panic buttons: If you sense you are in danger, use the panic button on your tracking device if it has one.

Know your neighbour: Knowing your neighbours and the cars they drive well help you to better identify suspicious individuals and vehicles.

Rules to follow if you are confronted by a hijacker

Stay as calm as possible

Don’t argue

Avoid making any sudden movements or gestures

Avoid eye contact 

Comply with the hijacker’s directions, within reason of course

Attempt to get away from the area as quickly as you can

There's no point being a dead hero - your life is surely worth more than your car

IOL Motoring

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