Polo owners beware

2017-09-19 13:45
VW Polos most hijacked cars in the city.

VW Polos most hijacked cars in the city. (File)

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Do you own the most-hijacked car in the city?

Pietermaritzburg North Cluster police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim has warned local owners of VW Polos and Polo Vivos to be “extra vigilant and observant” after revealing that these cars are the most targeted in the city.

“This financial year we have had an increase of theft and hijackings of VW vehicles.

“Most of these hijackings and attempted hijackings occurred in the Northdale, Orient Heights, Allandale, Copesville and Woodlands areas between 2 pm and 2 am,” she said.

Ebrahim said the increase of hijackings of these cars was of concern and advised the public to take necessary precautions to safeguard their cars.

The police view is also backed by a car tracking company, Ctrack, which released its 2016 hijacking and crime statistics, detailing which cars were the most targeted by criminals.

The report is based on data and analytics collected by Ctrack from January to December 2016.

According to Ctrack’s data, the most popular vehicle hijacked in South Africa was the Volkswagen Polo. Toyota’s Fortuner was the most popular SUV to be targeted, followed by Land Rover.

South Cluster police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said he had also noted that these cars were being targeted.

“Don’t pick up strangers, make sure cars are parked in a secure place, install security trackers, gear locks and park in lockable garages,” advised Ngobese.

Witness senior sub-editor and car expert Alwyn Viljoen said it has become increasingly difficult to steal cars, with all the anti-theft devices, such as immobilisers and gear-locks, and this has resulted in a dramatic increase in hijackings.

“Instead of waiting for the owner to go to bed and creeping in to steal the car, they [car thieves] would rather wait for the driver to be inside the car as it’s just easier to hijack them.”

Viljoen said the most hijacked cars are commonly targeted for their expensive parts.

“The best-selling cars are cars whose parts are in most demand and unscrupulous panel beaters just send out hijackers to steal the car for them. They get it for free, strip it and charge people less for the car parts,” he said.

According to August 2017 car sales statistics released by Lightstone Auto, VW Polo cars proved to be the most purchased cars. A total of 2 340 VW Polo Vivos were sold in just that month and 2 096 VW Polos were sold, meaning more than 100 VW Polo and Polo Vivos were sold per day throughout South Africa in August alone.

Local VW Polo owner Nhlakanipho Mtolo said he was aware that the cars were a high risk, and he takes many precautions to avoid becoming a victim.

“I installed a tracking device and at night I park my car behind the house or in front of my father’s car to make sure no one sees it from the street.

“I try to avoid places that are known to be crime hotspots and if I’m in an unfamiliar area, I make sure I check my car every three minutes just to make sure it’s still there,” he said.

Recent hijackings in the city

These are some of the incidents involving VW Polos and Polo Vivos reported by The Witness recently:

On Monday [September 11] The Witness reported that a man, who had parked his VW Polo Vivo in Cinderella Park, was hijacked and shot. A few hours later, police tracked and recovered the car in Hammarsdale.

On August 19, The Witness
reported that police were on the hunt for a brazen armed gang of robbers who struck Polly Shortts Liquors and hijacked a VW Polo and a Mazda Drifter double cab from two unsuspecting civilians.

On August 18, The Witness reported that a VW Polo was hijacked on King Edward Avenue when two armed men, who were also driving a VW Polo, hijacked two women at gunpoint.

On May 14, The Witness reported that five men who had robbed a shop at the Liberty Midlands Mall had used a VW Polo as a getaway car.

How to avoid a hijacking situation:

Check your rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.

When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a
hijacker.

Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your
surroundings.

When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/persons.

Have your key ready, but not visible.

Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking.

Know your destination and directions to it, and be alert should you get lost.

Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.

Make a mental note of any police stations in the vicinity.

When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle
length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if necessary.

When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely in their own vehicle before departing.

Avoid driving through unfamiliar or high-crime areas.

Avoid driving late at night and in the early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.

Drive in the centre lane, away from pedestrians where possible.

If possible, never drive alone.

NEVER, EVER pick up hitch-hikers or strangers (VERY IMPORTANT).

Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.

SOURCE: Arrive Alive

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  polo hijackings

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