SA car hi­jack­ings on the in­crease

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s lat­est crime statis­tics, re­leased on Fri­day by the po­lice min­istry, showed a wor­ry­ing 14.3 per­cent year-on-year in­crease in car hi­jack­ings. Yet the long-term trend is some­what more alarm­ing, with the rate hav­ing surged by 55 per­cent in the last four years, ac­cord­ing to the In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies (ISS).

The to­tal num­ber of car hi­jack­ings in the last recorded pe­riod (April 2015 to March 2016) stood at 14 602, an av­er­age of 40 a day and up from 12 773 in 2014/2015 and 9417 in 2011/12. How­ever last year’s num­ber was still slightly be­low the 14 885 hi­jack­ings recorded in 2008/09.

Look­ing at the pro­vin­cial fig­ures, the Western Cape ex­pe­ri­enced an alarm­ing 32 per­cent in­crease in hi­jack­ings, from 1530 in 2014/15 to 2032 in 2015/16. How­ever, the Gaut­eng re­mains the undis­puted car­jack cap­i­tal, with a whop­ping 7367 tak­ing place in the last year, up 7.3 per­cent yearon-year. The next high­est in­ci­dence was in Kwa-zulu Natal, with 2493 tak­ing place in 2015/16, up 13.8 per­cent year-on-year.

The big­gest in­crease, per­cent­age­wise, took place in the North­ern Cape, which ex­pe­ri­enced a 213.3 per­cent surge in the crime, al­beit from an ex­tremely low base of 15 hi­jack­ings in 2014/15 to 47 in 2015/16.

Next up was the North West Prov­ince, where hi­jack­ings were up 33.1 per­cent from 278 in 2014/15 to 370 in 2015/16. Lim­popo was up 30.4 per­cent (345 to 450), the Eastern Cape 24.3 per­cent (769 to 956) and Mpumalanga 23.6 per­cent (509 to 629).

The only prov­ince that saw a de­crease in hi­jack­ings was the Free State, down 4.4 per­cent to 258, from 270 the pre­vi­ous year.

Truck hi­jack­ings, car theft down While car hi­jack­ing in­creased, truck hi­jack­ing was down 7.4 per­cent in the last year, from 1279 to 1184. How­ever, there has still been an up­ward trend from 2011/12, when just 821 truck hi­jack­ings were recorded.

The area that ex­pe­ri­enced the most truck hi­jack­ings was Hei­del­berg south of Joburg, although Gaut­eng’s year-on-year fig­ure ac­tu­ally de­creased by 13.6 per­cent.

Ac­tual theft of mo­tor ve­hi­cles was down 2.3 per­cent on the year be­fore, and this forms part of a long-term de­cline that has seen an­nual thefts de­crease by 37 per­cent in nine years, from 85 979 in 2006/07 to 53 809 in 2015/16.

How­ever, this will be of lit­tle com­fort to mo­torists when the far scarier prospect of be­ing hi­jacked is ac­tu­ally in­creas­ing each year.

How to deal with a hi­jack­ing Com­ment­ing on the car­jack­ing num­bers, Dr Jo­han Burger of the ISS said the fig­ures sug­gest that South Africa is los­ing the war against or­gan­ised crime and that the topic de­serves far greater at­ten­tion:

“Bet­ter use of crime in­tel­li­gence, with sup­port from ex­pe­ri­enced de­tec­tives and foren­sic ca­pac­ity will go far in re­duc­ing these crimes. A good ex­am­ple is the suc­cess in tack­ling truck hi­jack­ing fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of a ded­i­cated task team,” Burger said.

Here are a few things you can do to safe­guard your ve­hi­cle against theft:

Dou­ble check that your car is locked Just be­cause you’ve clicked that re­mote to lock your car doesn’t mean you’ve nec­es­sar­ily suc­ceeded.

In re­cent years, car thieves have be­gun to use ‘re­mote jam­ming’ de­vices, which block the sig­nal from your re­mote, leav­ing your car un­locked and vul­ner­a­ble. So, dou­ble check to en­sure that all your doors are in fact locked when you step away from your ve­hi­cle, or risk hav­ing a thief driv­ing away with your car in broad day­light.

Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion Your car stands a far bet­ter chance of stay- ing put if you park it where it can be eas­ily seen. The more eyes you have on your ve­hi­cle, the less chance it has of be­ing tar­geted by op­por­tunis­tic thieves, who pre­fer to op­er­ate in poorly lit and well con­cealed lanes and al­ley­ways.

So while it might be tempt­ing to park around the cor­ner and avoid pay­ing a fee, you could save your­self plenty in the long-term by shelling out a few coins to the park­ing at­ten­dant.

Get track­ing While high-tech track­ing sys­tems, which to­day are both ex­tremely ac­cu­rate and rel­a­tively af­ford­able, are un­likely to pre­vent a theft en­tirely, you’re likely to know within sec­onds that some­thing is amiss.

These de­vices can now de­tect anom­alies in your driv­ing habits, send­ing you alerts in the event of ad­di­tional pres­sure or un­usual rout­ings. Not only that, but they can lo­cate your ve­hi­cle with pin­point ac­cu­racy, which means you stand a good chance of get­ting it back in the event of theft.

Clear the decks Leav­ing valu­ables in your car is a recipe for dis­as­ter, and leaves you ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble to crimes of op­por­tu­nity.

Re­mem­ber, your car is sig­nif­i­cantly more at­trac­tive to thieves when it comes com­plete with a full set of valu­ables in tow, so try not to en­cour­age any form of win­dow shop­ping by leav­ing per­sonal items strewn about.

Leave your win­dows slightly open Ac­cord­ing to Ar­rive Alive, there has been an in­crease in ‘smash-and-grab’ thefts from ve­hi­cles. Crim­i­nals smash a car win­dow while it is sta­tion­ary at a traf­fic light or in slow mov­ing traf­fic and grab any valu­ables they can see.

If you don’t have a pro­tec­tive safety film on your win­dow, leav­ing your car win­dows slightly open, be­tween 2cm and 3cm will make them far more dif­fi­cult to break. For car thieves look­ing to make a quick get­away, the prospect of re­peat­edly bash­ing your win­dow to gain en­try is not an en­tic­ing one, so wind them down just a lit­tle to make them more im­pact-ab­sorbent. And store your valu­ables out of sight while driv­ing.

— IOL

SA car hi­jack­ings from April 2015 to March 2016 stood at 14 602, an av­er­age of 40 a day.

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