Carjacking a concern

2020-02-11 06:00
Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and the Cape Town CBD have seen the highest number of carjacking cases in the Western Cape.

Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and the Cape Town CBD have seen the highest number of carjacking cases in the Western Cape. (Samantha Lee-Jacobs)

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Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and the Cape town CBD are the top three Western Cape areas listed for both hijacking and theft according to the latest tracking and recovery data.

Local tracking service, Tracker released their vehicle crime statistics for the period July to December 2019 which notes an 18% decrease in the number of theft and hijackings reported nationally during December compared to the five previous months. 

This trend is consistent year-on-year, with an 18% decrease in December 2018 and a 21% decrease in December 2017. 

In the Western Cape, for hijackings, Khayelitsha ranks first followed by Mitchell’s Plain and then the CBD. For vehicle theft, the CBD ranks first followed by Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.

The data was compiled from the company’s more than 1.1 million installed-vehicle client base. The statistics provide insight into vehicle theft and hijacking trends, including the time of day and day of the week when vehicle crime is most likely to occur. 

Even though – according to the country’s crime statistics for 2018/19 – Cape Town, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha police stations are not among the national top 30 police stations with the highest reported cases of car theft, they do have the highest number of incidents reported in the Western Cape.

Furthermore, according to the police crime stats, the three stations feature on several other crime lists, including murder, community reported crimes, attempted murder and rape. 

Nandi Canning, Tracker spokesperson says: “Our statistics reveal that these three communities make up almost 6% of Tracker’s national and 57% of the Western Cape’s vehicle theft and hijackings reported from July to December 2019.”

The statistics for the same period in 2018 reveal the same three communities as hotspots, however, Canning says this could change. “These areas are the most prevalent crime spots in the Western Cape, based on system-generated data. However, hotspots can and do change, so we encourage people to be vigilant wherever they go,” she says. 

Three days have been identified on which incidents will most commonly take place. 

Most vehicles are hijacked or stolen on a Saturday throughout South Africa.

This is followed by Thursday and Friday for hijackings and theft, respectively. 

“Most hijackings are reported between 20:00 and 21:00 followed by 12:00 and 14:00, on any day of the week, while theft of a vehicle is reported between 11:00 and 14:00,” says Canning. Regardless of the day, the police crime statistics indicate there were 138 hijackings in Khayelitsha, 45 in Mitchell’s Plain and 21 in the CBD. The stats also reveal there were 271 vehicle thefts in the CBD, 169 in Mitchell’s Plain and 91 in Khayelitsha. 

Mitchell’s Plain police have also noted an increase in carjackings recently. 

“We have noted an increase in the reported cases of carjackings in Mitchells Plain. Most of these incidents have occurred at the Mnandi Beach area,” says Mitchell’s Plain police spokesperson, Capt Ian Williams.

“These incidents have mostly occurred at night while people were parking at the beach. In some instances, victims have been forced off the road or forced to stop. We have had reports of bricks and branches placed in the road to create an obstruction, forcing motorists to stop.”

The reported cases indicate groups consisting of two to four men with firearms is the modus operandi.

Motorists are advised to be vigilant and avoid becoming a victim of vehicle crime this year. 

  • Make sure your vehicle has sufficient fuel and is properly maintained to prevent a breakdown. 
  • Plan your routes in advance to try to avoid high-risk areas and the distraction of having to check directions while driving.
  • Keep valuables out of sight in the boot or under the seats.
  • Remain vigilant at all times – criminals are relying on you being distracted and vulnerable.
  • Know your emergency numbers.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t park in isolated, dark places.
  • There is safety in numbers – try to go in a group.
  • Trust your instincts – if you don’t feel safe, then move away quickly.
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