Vehicle theft increasing

2015-05-13 06:00
JOHN EDMESTON, global chief executive officer of Cartrack Holdings Ltd.
 Photo: Supplied

JOHN EDMESTON, global chief executive officer of Cartrack Holdings Ltd. Photo: Supplied

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

CRIME rates in South Africa are expected to continue their upward spiral as economic and social conditions deteriorate – a trend that can already be seen in the sharp increase in truck and car hijackings.

As economic growth contracts, unemployment figures grow and regard for the rule of law diminishes. Vehicle tracking and recovery provider Cartrack says this will drive up theft and hijackings of vehicles, trucks and cargos for sale in the illicit local and cross-border markets.

Approximately 50% of stolen and hijacked vehicles are disposed of within South Africa, 30% are exported to other countries, and 20% find their way into chop shops and the second-hand parts market. As long as cash-strapped consumers are prepared to look the other way, criminal syndicates will continue to operate and flourish.

“Official crime statistics show a 12,3% increase in carjacking to 11 221 reported cases, while our own truck hijackings stats increased by 16% in the last financial year, which aligns with similar figures released by the Road Freight Association,” says John Edmeston, Global chief executive officer of Cartrack Holdings Ltd.

“The association reported 1 150 truck hijackings across the industry during the same reporting period. The escalation is rapid and significant.

“Anecdotally, we have always seen a trend whereby vehicle crimes increase during times of economic stress, but now more reports show a direct correlation between crime rates and economic and social conditions.

“Both car and truck hijackings are generally perpetrated by organised crime syndicates, thus the hijacking increases also suggest that organised crime is on the rise in South Africa.”

According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Monitoring the Impact of Economic Crisis on Crime, crime peaks during economic crises. The incidence of robbery may double, and homicide and motor vehicle theft also increase, according to the report. Using data recorded by police in 15 countries on the incidence of robbery, homicide and car theft, the report focuses on the possible effects of economic stress. In eight of 11 countries undergoing economic upheavals, a link between economic factors and crime could be established.

“Our own experience and the findings of the report are consistent with criminal motivation theory, which suggests that economic stress causes an increase in criminal behaviour. In fact, past experience shows that during the financial crisis of 2008-’09, truck hijackings in South Africa soared by 61% when compared with South African Police Service stats for 2006-’07. During the recovery years of 2011-’12, the incidents fell by 42%.

“Nevertheless, I think we have to come to terms with the fact that crime, particularly organised crime, is an industry in itself and will thrive regardless of economics in an environment where controls and consequences are inadequate.”

Various studies also state that there are many other factors that drive this trend. Among these are the presence of youth gangs, drugs, alcohol consumption and the availability of firearms.

Exacerbating this, the perceived or real high levels of corruption, instability in our law enforcement agencies along with perceived low criminal prosecution rates, play a role in bolstering crime because criminals believe they can act with impunity

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.