There are many ways hijackers can target you in South Africa. This week we explain the aspects that could make certain individuals more vulnerable to hijackings.
As said before, hijacking remains an unfortunate everyday worry for many South African drivers. Statistics South Africa’s latest Victims of Crime Report shows a total of 32 465 South Africans were victims of vehicle hijacking in 2018/2019.
That equates to approximately 89 hijackings per day. (3 people are hijacked every hour) This means there is a high chance you or someone you know is likely to be affected by this crime. Are you backed by car insurance?
Living in a country with a high level of hijacking can be worrisome. It is essential to know how hijackers are targeting people. By being aware of this, you will be better able to prevent an incident from occurring.
Hijackers are leaping on unsuspecting vehicle owners wherever the opportunity arises, Here’s how they look for easy targets:
Vehicles parked at petrol stations
Drivers who are parked are usually approached by hijackers at petrol stations while filling up with fuel. They typically approach the driver’s blind spot. They then often force the driver out of the vehicle. We recommend not filling up at a quiet petrol station.
Blue light robberies
The ‘blue light protocol’ is no longer safe to use when pulled over in South Africa.
JPSA head, Howard Dembovsky said that “blue light gangs” had been committing violent crimes. This is especially true for hijacking motives. We recommend the following guidelines keep safe:
- It would be best if you slowed down, put on your hazards, indicate to the blue-light vehicle behind you to follow you.
- Then calmly drive no faster than 40km/h to the nearest police station
Blue light gangs are usually out and about during the evenings. It’s best to avoid driving alone at night.
Victims are approached at bars and restaurants by strangers. These strangers will try to befriend them. They will later spike their victim’s drink. They will then make off with their victim’s vehicle. Always remain vigilant while out socialising at night. Do not trust any strangers.
Motorists are hijacked after being followed home
Perpetrators follow vehicles home. They then box the motorist in. Making off with the car. Hijackers often wait for the victim to enter the property. They then block the gate from closing behind them.
Car shops being targeted by a fake interest in purchasing
There have been reports of private sellers being approached by ‘prospective clients. They ask to take the cars for a test drive and are then subsequently ‘hijacked’.
According to the SAPS, in one of the incidents, suspects pretended to be buyers and requested to test drive a bakkie. They then made off with the vehicle. The perpetrators were not planning to return.
Car shop hijackings have become a popular tactic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Car sales representatives have been hesitant to accompany their clients during test drives. “Customers wanting to test-drive vehicles alone has increased car shop hijackings.
Most hijacked cars in SA
You can also be vulnerable to hijackings if you drive a particular vehicle. According to carmag.co.za, carjackers often go for popular cars. The vehicles they choose are easy to resell or use the parts in other cars. The most hijacked cars in South Africa are:
- Volkswagen Polo,
- Toyota Hilux
- Ford Ranger
Criminals are quick to notice security flaws and exploit them. Ford owners had their cars broken into or stolen quite a lot. This is due to weak locks and other weaknesses in the built-in security system. Educate yourself on any such issues before you purchase. Car insurance also tends to increase with high-risk cars.
It’s essential to purchase a car that you will be comfortable with. Remember, your insurance provider will always have you covered.
Investing in Car Insurance
Your insurance provider will cover accidents, damage caused by you to a victim’s vehicle as well as hijackings.
It is advisable to follow our guidelines. Nobody on the roads is entirely safe from being hijacked. We suggest that you get comprehensive cover if you have not done so already.
Being fully covered will give you increased peace of mind over yours and your vehicle’s safety.