Vehicle crime has decreased year-on-year according to statistics from Tracker that show a 13% drop in the period July to December 2020.
Recorded from Tracker’s more than 1.1 million installed vehicle base, the statistics indicate theft decreased by 21%, while hijacking saw a 5% reduction.
Obviously tempered by lower traffic movement through the various lockdown phases, the reduction is nonetheless welcome.
Hijacking still attributes a higher percentage of vehicle crime than theft, averaging a 53/47 split, and Tracker calls on the public to remain vigilant at all times. The slant towards hijacking is most likely an opportunistic tactic, with a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly fast-moving consumable goods. Drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted.
Tracker data indicates most vehicles are reported hijacked or stolen at the end of the week. Most hijackings are reported on Wednesday through to Friday and between the hours of 16:00 and 20:00. While theft is mainly reported on Wednesday through to Saturday and between the hours of 11:00 and 15:00.
The provinces and towns most affected by vehicle crime remain similar to past indices. Gauteng still experiences the most vehicle crime, with hijacking prevalent in Johannesburg and theft mainly occurring in Pretoria. This is followed by KwaZulu-Natal with Durban in the top spot for both hijacking and theft, and the Western Cape with hijacking mainly occurring in Mitchells Plain and theft in Cape Town.
Further hijacking hotspots include eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Motherwell in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in the North West, Dennilton in Limpopo and Bloemfontein in the Free State. Further theft hotspots include eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in the North West, Polokwane in Limpopo, Bloemfontein in the Free State and Kimberley in the Northern Cape.
Tracker’s efforts to combat vehicle crime resulted in 2 949 vehicle recoveries, 397 arrests and 13 firearms recovered for the six-month period.
“The decrease in vehicle crime could be attributed to fewer vehicles on the road compared to the previous year, as South Africans continue to restrict their movements to help prevent the spread of Covid-19,” says Ron Knott-Craig, Executive: Operational Services at Tracker South Africa.
“However, it is important we don’t become complacent. While driving, be vigilant about your surroundings. Be alert and on the lookout for suspicious persons or vehicles. Avoid distractions such as talking on your mobile phone. Also, always try to park your vehicle in a properly secured parking area, and make sure the doors are properly locked before leaving it.”