Hijacking in SA: How thieves choose their victims, cars

Johannesburg - Hijacking and other vehicle crimes affect South Africans a lot more than realised. It's not just about losing a vehicle and going through a traumatic experience. It has huge financial implications.

Criminals often conduct thorough investigations of their victims' routines and whereabouts before their strike. 

In the latest Crime Stats survey, Pro-active SA's Ryno Schutte told Wheels24 that most people do not report these crimes because they believe "nothing can be done about it", and it was also found that most people take matters "into their own hands instead of calling the police".

Schutte takes a look at why vehicles are stolen and how victims are chosen.

READ: Vehicle crime hotspots - Joburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and Durban

Schutte says: "It's disheartening to see the response in the 2017 victims of crime survey which was conducted. Many victims from all walks of life indicated that they don’t report crime as nothing will be done about it. 

"However, something can only be done about it if SAPS have been made aware of the crime. The size of the crime does not matter."

Cost of vehicle crime in SA

Schutte says billions of Rands are lost yearly due to crime. Incidents occur daily and an estimated R45-billion is spent on personal security per year. The previous totals exclude the R44-billion spent by government on “Police Services”.

The value of vehicle crime nationally is estimated at R9-billion per year which is close to a fifth of the "Police Services" budget and / or a fifth of the expenditure for personal security.

Has your car been stolen? Have you witnessed or been the victim of a hijacking? Share your story

Why cars stolen in SA: list by ProActive

When a vehicle is stolen or hijacked it is either used to commit another crime, or to be exported into African countries. 
There is a market for vehicles that are also right-hand drive in neighbouring countries.
Spare parts are also required which creates another market. 
Driving a luxury vehicle is also deemed as a status symbol which contributes to the 36% of vehicles being filtered back into the South African market. 
5 The increase in hijackings are due to the advancement of technology where a coded key or key fob is needed to operate a vehicle which makes the crime somewhat easier with jamming devices.
Hotwiring a vehicle is becoming more difficult. The increase in vehicle jamming devices also makes tracking vehicles more difficult. There has also been a huge increase in remote jamming which contributes to Theft out of Motor Vehicle within the community.

If an estimate loss of R50 000 is found in a theft from residential premises, then the loss can be estimated at R12.3-billion and robbery residential will contribute to R1.11-billion each year in SA.

Theft out of motor vehicle can be estimated at R10 000 per incident which further contributes to R1.38-billion and burglary at non-residential premises at R3.78-billion. This excludes cash in transit heists which has also increased over the past few months leading up to the festive season. 

Common denominator

Pro-active SA says: "By focusing on vehicles and vehicle crime this will contribute to lowering most forms of property crime which is in the best interest of the community and assisting Law Enforcement entities nationally. 

"The combat will include sharing of viable intelligence minutes after an incident has occurred, as well as making the information available by use of technology such as License Plate Recognition Technology. Cloned plates, stolen vehicles and hijacked vehicles can be used days, weeks and even months after they have been acquired."

How victims are chosen

1 Victims are chosen carefully prior to the crime being committed with extra care being taken to target vehicle owners who will provide the least resistance to an attack.

2 Routines are also monitored closely as people are creatures of habit and thrive on structure. An example of this will be leaving at the same time every morning for work and returning from home at the same time. 

3 Information being shared within the crime community also plays a huge factor.

"Our community is in urgent need of standing together as nothing will change until residents comes together for the greater good. We need committed citizens to change the world and it starts with you and me supporting the local police services and security personnel. 

"Police can only react or respond if we provide law officials or community watch groups with the intelligence and information to do so," says Schutte.

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