There has been a 20% increase in hijackings in South Africa over the past year.
This is according to insurer Dialdirect, who stated that over 30,000 hijackings of motor vehicles – including trucks – take place per year in the country.
Bianca de Beer, a spokesperson for Dialdirect, said their claims data shows that hijackings have increased by 20% from 2019 to 2020.
“With more cars back on the road, hijackers are seizing the opportunity by pouncing on unsuspecting motorists,” said de Beer.
To put hijackings in South Africa into content, Dialdirect also shared data from the National Hijacking Prevention Academy (NHPA).
The data showed that between August 2019 and July 2020:
- Hijackings took place every day of the week, but peaked on Fridays.
- More hijackings took place from 12:00, peaking at between 16:00 and 20:00.
- Hijackers prefer spots where vehicles are moving slowly or stationary, with most hijackings taking place in residential driveways.
- Other hotspots included traffic signs or intersections, schools, filling stations, parking areas, and places where passengers were picked up or dropped off.
- Pistols and revolvers were mostly used as weapons, with a smaller percentage of hijackings involving high calibre guns, knives and even bare hands.
The methods used
The methods hijackers use were also detailed in the report, with “boxing in” and “follow the leader” tactics highlighted.
Boxing in is when criminals selects areas where victims cannot easily escape, while follow the leader tactics are when an attacker follows a victim from a busy, public space to a quieter, more isolated spot.
Forcing drivers off the road with a vehicle, posing as interested buyers in an advertised vehicle, and posing as a police or traffic officials are other methods used by hijackers.
Blue light attacks
The findings from Dialdirect follow a feature on Carte Blanche in August, which detailed how criminals pose as law enforcement officials to kidnap and rob unsuspecting drivers.
These attackers place blue, flashing lights on their vehicles to trick victims into thinking they are being pulled over by an official law enforcement vehicle.
Linda Goodenough, community development manager for Fidelity ADT, said at the time that the majority of these cases have been reported on the R59.
Goodenough said it was important to stress that these incidents are isolated, but if you are in a hijacking situation there are several steps you must follow.
- Decide what is worth more, your life or your car.
- Obey the hijacker and avoid eye contact.
- Indicate with both hands up at chest level that you are willing to obey.
- Don’t make any fast unannounced movements which could startle your hijackers.
- When you receive the order to get out of the vehicle, start with seatbelt. Indicate that you want to undo your seatbelt, so the hijacker knows you have it on.
- Tell them that you are going to pull up the handbrake.
- Alert them of pets or children or anybody else in the vehicle.