Motorists in South Africa have been warned of three new hijacking methods which are adding to the country’s crime statistics.
Bobby Petkov, the Group CEO of Mit-Mak Motors, speaking on a podcast with Penuel Mlotshwa said the first new trend emerging was called the ‘blockage method’.
“So hijackers will block you at a fast food place like a KFC or McDonald's or one of these establishments where a car will block you from the front, as well as the back,” he said.
“You'll be identified as a target vehicle…They'll block you and then obviously they have closed the space. They will point you with a gun and tell you to get out of the car. You can't reverse because there's a car behind you, you can't go forward because there's a car (in front ) of you and they'll take your car and everybody drives away.”
This method is similar to the popular driveway hijacking technique used by hijackers who prey on motorists who arrive home and block their driveway.
“So they'll block you from the back, you can’t reverse and then they will run up to you. That's the block, the blockage method.”
Petkov said the second new hijacking trend is called the ‘tap-tap trap method’.
“So they'll drive behind you and slightly bump you. And then they will say, ‘oh man, I'm so sorry, you know, can we stop and exchange insurance details’. Then boom they will, grab the car and go,” he said
The third new hijacking trend he added is called the ‘good Samaritan’.
“You will be driving past and they will say, “excuse me, your tyres are flat.. I think you ought to maybe pull over and have a look, there is this situation with your tyre”,” Petkov said.
When a motorist does pull over that is when they are hijacked.
According to the latest police crime stats, in the first quarter of 2023, there were 112 reported hijackings in South Africa, a decrease of 10 percent from the same period in 2022.
The most affected provinces are Gauteng (50 hijackings), KwaZulu-Natal (28 hijackings), and the Western Cape (20 hijackings).
The most common type of vehicle hijacked is a car (80 hijackings), followed by a bakkie (15 hijackings) and a motorcycle (10 hijackings).
Most hijackings occur during the day (60 hijackings), followed by the evening (35 hijackings) and the night (17 hijackings).
Some of the other trends linked to hijacking include:
– Hijackings are becoming more violent, with criminals increasingly using guns and knives.
– Hijackings are also becoming more brazen, with criminals targeting vehicles in busy areas, such as shopping malls and traffic lights.
– Criminals are also targeting luxury vehicles, such as SUVs and sports cars.
– In some cases, criminals are using hijacked vehicles to commit other crimes, such as robberies and kidnappings.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a hijacking statistics according to the SA Police Service:
– Avoid driving in high-crime areas, especially at night.
– Be aware of your surroundings and park in well-lit areas.
– Do not leave valuables in your car, even if you are just running into a store for a few minutes.
– If you are hijacked, do not resist. Give the criminals what they want and stay calm.