Whilst you can’t (with certainty) prevent car theft, there are several steps you can take to avoid becoming a hijack victim - one of which is choosing a low-risk vehicle.
Every 32 minutes, a motorist is hijacked somewhere in South Africa - that’s a horrifying 46 cars hijacked every day. Hijacking and car theft are, unfortunately, a reality which has to be factored into our daily lives. We’re faced with decisions like whether or not to get insurance, install a tracker or park our car on the verge at our best friend’s braai.
Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, has presented the 2017/2018 national crime statistics and the numbers paint a grim picture for motorists with a reported 16,325 vehicle hijackings between April and March 2019.
In February (2017) Ctrack, a global supplier of vehicle tracking, insurance telematics and fleet management solutions, released a report based on its hijacking and crime statistics. The report was compiled using data and analytics from January 2016 to December 2016 and listed, in order, which vehicle makes are targeted by criminals in South Africa. Suzuki is one of the least hijacked brands in South Africa and wasn’t mentioned at all on Ctrack’s list.
The following charts, showing the most hijacked cars in South Africa, are based on Ctrack’s report data:
Image source: BusinessTech
Image source: BusinessTech
There are a number of ways hijackers can target you, even if your car isn’t a high risk vehicle. Executive head of Dial Direct, Warwick Scott-Rodger, says the top five vehicle hijacking trends in South Africa right now are:
1. Vehicles hijacked at fuel stations
Drivers filling up with fuel at fuel stations are often targeted by hijackers. . They approach the driver from his or her blindspot and force them out of the vehicle. It’s difficult for petrol attendants to intervene as many hijackers are armed.
2. The dangers of strangers
Vehicle owners can be approached at social spots by strangers who befriend them, later spike their drinks, and then steal their keys and make off with their vehicle.
3. Fake blue lights
Hijackers pose as traffic officers or police officials and get vehicle owners to pull over. They often drive in unmarked vehicles and once drivers pull over, they are overpowered and their vehicles are hijacked.
4. Hijacked at home
Vehicle owners are overpowered in their homes and vehicles are taken along with other possessions.
5. Vehicles hijacked after driver is followed home
Hijackers follow vehicles home, box owners in their driveway, and then hijack them. Hijackers often wait for the owner to enter the property and then block the security gate from closing.
Whilst you can’t (with certainty) prevent crime, there are several steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim. BusinessTech provided this seating plan from The National Hijack Prevention Academy that will help keep your kids safe during a hijacking.
Fidelity ADT Communications Manager, Chanel Hattingh, recommended that the eldest child should be seated behind the driver and the youngest to the left as it would be easier to get them both out the car in the event of a hijacking. She said.
“If you are hijacked and need to get out of the car, you can move quickly from the driver’s door to the door directly behind it. You can reach across the eldest child to unstrap the younger child. The eldest child can cling to you as you remove them both together,”
During an interview with Fourways Review, Jean Berdou (Chairperson of the Douglasdale Police Forum) gave advice to motorists who find themselves in a hijack situation.
Despite a significant decline of 56% and 60% respectively in the last ten years, Tshwane and Johannesburg remain the cities with the highest rates of this crime, followed by eThekwini, Ekurhuleni and Cape Town.
Cars.co.za warns motorists to be vigilant and alert in the following hijacking hotspots throughout South Africa.
Purchasing a high-risk vehicle can increase your chances of becoming a hijack victim. We recommend you keep the following tips in mind to help you stay safe on the road.
Suzuki aims to help keep South African motorists safe and informed. For more tips on safety and expert, insider advice you can subscribe to the Suzuki blog. and we will deliver helpful content straight to your inbox.
If you’re a concerned parent, looking to purchase your child’s first car, or a first time buyer looking for information on how to choose a reliable car, download our latest ebook on Buying your child’s first car. You’ll find helpful tips on how to pick the right car for your lifestyle, how to lower your insurance premiums and a blank printable template for you to create a comparison of the specs of your three favourite models.