Posted on 26-09-2012
Filed Under (Industry News) by Chloe Davies

Police minster Nathi Mthethwa released South Africa’s latest (2011/2012) crime statistics on Thursday and although we have seen a decline in various serious crimes, there is still much work to be done.

Looking at it from a motorist’s point of view, we did thankfully see a drop in both hijacking and vehicle theft, although there was an increase in thefts from vehicles. Let’s take a peek at the figures in more detail.

HIJACKING

The last year saw 9475 cars and LCVs being hijacked, which is down from 10 627 during the preceding period. When analysing the last eight years’ figures, the tally has fallen from a high of 14 915 in 2008/2009.

The highest incidence by a massive margin, no surprise, was in Gauteng with exactly 5000 hijackings reported (down from 5936 last year). Four other provinces also recorded a decrease – KwaZulu-Natal from 2619 to 2229, Mpumalanga from 427 to 369 and Limpopo (177 to 163), while the Northern Cape’s figure dropped from 14 to just nine.

The North West recorded exactly the same figure (236) while three provinces experienced a slight increase – Eastern Cape (527 to 644), Western Cape (457 to 542) and Free State (234 to 283).

Truck hijacking, across the country, was down to 821 from 999 last year and from a peak of 1437 in 2008/2009.

VEHICLE THEFT

Theft of motor vehicles and bikes decreased slightly, from 64 504 to 59 097, but down significantly from the eight-year high of 86 298 in 2006/2007.

The most recent drop was reflected in seven of the nine provinces with Gauteng seeing a fall from 32 278 to 27 945, KZN from 10 587 to 10 106, Western Cape (9098 – 8672), Eastern Cape (3976 – 3883), Mpumalanga (2752 – 2730), North West (2458 – 2423) and Free State (2218 – 2013).

Increases were seen in Limpopo (891 to 1024) and Northern Cape (246 to 301).

THEFT FROM VEHICLES

This is one area where crime did increase. 2011/2012 saw 130 475 thefts from vehicles, up from 123 091 the previous period but still down from the 2004/2005 high of 148 512.

We suspect the latest increase has something to do with the increasing popularity of jammer devices.

All nine provinces experienced an increase here, with Gauteng leading the way with 39 228 incidents and KZN trailing with 15 960.

HOW TO AVOID BEING HIJACKED

Although the crime figures show a decrease in hijackings, the crime is still very prevalent and it’s worth knowing a few tricks that could help you avoid becoming a statistic.

The following tips have been compiled using knowledgeable sources from companies like Outsurance and the AA.

– When approaching a red traffic light slow down and try to get there by the time it turns green. Hijackings usually take place when a vehicle has come to a complete standstill.

– Be aware of your surroundings by keeping an eye on the cars and people around you.

– Of course, keep all doors locked at all times.

– Stay alert and stop a few metres behind the car in front to leave room for a quick getaway.

– Also be alert when driving under a bridge – hijackers may drop stones on cars to force motorists to stop.

– Don’t drive with your car window more than 5cm open (but do leave it around 3cm open as this reduces the tension and makes it harder to break the window).

– Put your bag under the passenger seat or in the boot.

– Know the location of the police station nearest to your work or home. If the occupants of a police car want you to pull to the side of the road indicate that they should follow you to the police station in case they’re not really policemen.

– Using various routes could throw potential attackers off, as many hijackers have followed people for days before pouncing.

– Avoid going to fuel stations after 9pm.

– If you can, try not to drive alone at night and if you are a woman, a great trick is to keep a cap in your boot to wear as a disguise.

WHAT IF YOU DO GET HIJACKED?

– If a gun is held against your window, raise both hands. Always keep your hands where the hijacker can see them and if you need to reach for something – for example to undo your seat belt – explain clearly what you’re about to do.

– Never reach for your bag or any luggage if you’ve been ordered out of your car. The hijacker might assume you’re grabbing a firearm and shoot you.

– Do what you’re told and don’t appear threatening in any way.

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