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Carjackings on the rise in South Africa

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has published its latest crime statistics, showing a steep increase in carjackings in the country.

The data covers crimes reported to police stations, as well as crimes detected through police activity, between October and December 2021.

Car-related crimes

Total crimes reported in the period under review decreased by 3.3%, with four out of the six main vehicle-related crimes being down when compared to the year before.

Reports of carjackings increased by 13.8% to 5,455 incidents, reflecting the second-largest increase in any one crime across all categories and the largest increase in the category of vehicle-related crimes.

At the other end, incidents of motorists being caught by police when driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol were down by 18.9% to 20,170, reflecting the second-largest decrease in any one crime across all categories and the largest decrease in the category of vehicle-related crimes.

Overall, vehicle-related crimes reported to the SAPS between October and December 2021 decreased by 9.67% to 49,090 incidents.

However, the real number of vehicle-related crimes in the country might paint a grimmer picture.

According to Statistics South Africa’s latest Victims of Crime (VoC) survey, thousands of crimes went unreported during the time the SAPS’s figures were compiled, reports BusinessTech.

The VoC survey reveals criminal activity from victims’ experiences that aren’t always reported to the SAPS.

In the 12 months preceding the release of the VoC survey, it recorded that only 91% out of the 83,000 households that experienced theft of a motor vehicle reported it to the police.

In addition, in the past five years, a total of 212,000 households experienced car theft, while 151,000 people over the age of 16 have lived through a carjacking, said the VoC survey.

On the bright side, the VoC survey concurs with the general consensus of the SAPS report, which said that crime is on a slight downtrend in South Africa.

The number of car-related crimes reported to the SAPS and detected as a result of police activity between October and December 2021 is detailed below:

Crime type # of reports Oct – Dec 2021
Carjacking 5,455 (+13.8%)
Truck hijacking 448 (+2.8%)
Theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle 9,776 (-3.2%)
Robbery of cash in transit 60 (-7.7%)
Theft out of or from a motor vehicle 20,170 (-11.1%)
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 13,181 (-18.9%)
Total 49,090 (-9.67%)


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