JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Tracker’s vehicle crime statistics from July 2019 to June 2020 show an increased frequency of hijacking which has continued into the months of state-enforced CoVid-19 ‘lockdown’.
Conversely, general vehicle criminality has decreased.
Data collated from Tracker’s more than 1.1-million installed vehicles shows that, before lockdown, crimes involving vehicles increased across South Africa by 11% year-on-year – mostly because hijacking increased by 21%.
The number of vehicles stolen was much the same as the previous year’s data.
“Lockdown,” Tracker reports, “brought an extraordinary set of circumstances and vehicle crime numbers last seen decades ago, particularly during Level 5 restrictions. In April the number of vehicle crime activities nationally declined to only 19% of the average monthly activity.
“As the country’s restrictions were lifted vehicle crime activities increased, with May experiencing a three-fold increase to 62% of the average vehicle crime activities, while June was close to usual levels at 93%.”
However, Tracker added, with the decrease in vehicle crime, hijacking was more prevalent than theft during lockdown. Hijacking recorded a higher percentage of the Tracker vehicle crime activities during lockdown when compared to theft, averaging a 56/44 split.
NO SET TIME FOR CRIME
“This was an increase on the 50/50 split between hijacking and theft for the months before lockdown,’’ Tracker recorded. “It was a further increase on the previous year, which saw a 45/55 split in favour of theft. In addition, despite Level 3 lockdown, June 2020 hijacking matched that of June 2019.
Tracker’s latest data also showed a shift in day and time of day when hijacking was reported.
“It is now prevalent throughout the week, from Tuesday to Saturday, with only slightly less activity on Sundays and Mondays. Hijackings are also reported to Tracker throughout the day from 11am to midnight.
“Theft, meanwhile, is mainly reported over weekends and during lunchtime.”
Hostage situations are still a daily occurrence.
GAUTENG STILL CRIME CAPITAL
Other crime trends noted by Tracker include a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly food items and fast-moving consumable goods. Clients are also being robbed of valuables and in some instance’s large amounts of cash.
The provinces and towns most affected by vehicle crime remain similar to past indices. Gauteng still experiences the most, with hijackings prevalent in Johannesburg, followed by kwaZulu-Natal with Durban in top spot,
In the Western Cape hijackings mainly occur in Mitchells Plain, followed by eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Ibhayi in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in North West, Burgersfort in Limpopo, Bloemfontein in the Free State, and Dikhing in the Northern Cape.
Tracker’s efforts to combat vehicle crime resulted in 5447 vehicle recoveries, 819 arrests, and the recovery of 39 firearms in the 12 twelve months from July 2019 to June 2020.
…AND WORDS FROM THE EXPERT
Tracker’s Ron Knott-Craig told The Corner: “With the latest statistics indicating hijacking can happen at any time on any day it is clear that criminals are opportunistic – vigilance is vital.
“Make sure your vehicle tracking device is in working order and make use of the features offered by your vehicle tracking service.”