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Most popular hijacking methods in South Africa – and how to avoid looking like a target

Hijackings in South Africa in 2022 were up a staggering 15% in comparison to 2021, with the country experiencing a total of 23,025 of these incidents averaging out to 63 vehicles stolen per day, according to the police’s latest crime statistics published in February.

The most prevalent methods currently used by syndicates to catch motorists off-guard include driveway hijackings and fake traffic officials, said Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann.

Avoid looking like a target

In the case of driveway jackings, if a motorist believes they are being tailed they should turn on their indicator and slow down a few homes away from where they are planning to turn in, thereby forcing the vehicle behind them to pass, which may cause the criminals to lose interest, said Bartmann.

This scenario calls for the driver not to park in their driveway while waiting for the gate to open as it could provide a means for the hijackers to corner them and cut off any escape routes.

Avoiding fraudulent police, on the other hand, is a bit trickier as you are never sure of whether they are, in fact, real cops.

One way to steer clear of potential encounters with fake police is to stay off routes where they are regularly encountered, which is even more important after the sun has set, said Bartmann.

Additionally, if a traffic officer does pull you over, whether they are official or not, switch on the car’s brights and hazards to attract attention from passing vehicles and pedestrians who will be able to notice should something happen.

High-risk vehicles

Toyota vehicles are still the most targeted by hijacking syndicates, followed by VWs, then Fords, as stated by BusinessTech.

Of these brands, frequently-targeted models include:

  • Toyota Etios
  • Toyota Fortuner
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Toyota Prado
  • VW Polo
  • Ford Ranger

The Nissan NP200 is another regularly-stolen bakkie despite the brand itself not being at the top of the criminals’ shopping lists.

Most of these cars are moved immediately across the border into neighbouring countries after they are taken, either to be disassembled for parts or sold to an existing “customer.”

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