Huge Increase in New Hijacking Hotspots in South AfricaHuge Increase in New Hijacking Hotspots in South Africa

South Africa has seen a massive spike in hijackings, in the past year. Based on the SAPS crime stats from Oct 2021- Sep 2022, over 47 600vehicles were hijacked and stolen – that’s more than the number of seats in the Orlando Soccer Stadium! 

Unfortunately, SA vehicle theft has become a billion-dollar industry. How much of a billion-dollar industry? Well according to the crime stats released by SAPS a whopping R4.9 billion worth of vehicles are taken across the border every year. That’s pretty much what it cost to build The Mall of Africa.

It’s not all doom and gloom – when there are villains, there are superheroes – Cartrack has been and will always be around to help keep you and your vehicle safe.

In this article, we’ll give you the latest hijacking insights in South Africa, so you can be more vigilant and prepared on the roads. 


How much do you know about organised crime? 

It’s important to understand the psychology of criminals and to know that very often, crimes are not coincidental. The execution of crime events often involves thorough planning and organised criminal tactics, which can catch potential victims off-guard, increasing their likelihood of being hijacked. 

Here are some points to note, so you can be more prepared and understand perpetrator’s minds a bit better: 

  • Criminals do their ‘shopping’ beforehand: Perpetrators will research what vehicles are the best for them to steal in advance and will continue to learn the organised skill sets needed to hijack these vehicles 
  • Technology is changing: The technology in vehicles is advancing at a rapid rate, which could be a contributing factor to the increase in hijackings. A lot of vehicles can no longer be “hotwired” but the key is still required for the vehicle to operate, which can  put people at more risk of being hijacked and taken with the vehicle 
  • Criminals are evolving: These days criminals aren’t walking around in tattered clothing and masks, they can be seen driving expensive vehicles, and are neatly dressed. This makes them look less suspicious, which makes potential victims less aware and more of a target

In addition, it’s also important to note that hijackers operate in groups of two to five, where they sometimes impersonate police or traffic officers, and can often be seen driving big luxury vehicles. 

Furthermore, according to Fidelity Services, 48.9% of hijackers prefer white vehicles, however, the colour of the vehicle isn’t the top priority for hijackers, but rather the make and model. Hijackers are also becoming increasingly desperate to fulfil their supply and demand obligations, so they are willing to take more significant risks to get the vehicles they want.  

According to MasterDrive, the prime times when hijackings are more likely are:

  • On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 18h00 to 21h00
  • On Friday or Saturday evenings from 21h00 to midnight
  • During peak-morning traffic times, 06h00 to 09h00
  • During reduced visibility at night between 18h00 to 24h00, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

Top 10 hijacking hotspot areas to look out for

According to SAPS, carjackings are most prevalent in South Africa’s most populous regions, such as Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.

Do you know what the hijacking rate in South Africa is?

There has been an escalation in hijackings in the Eastern Cape compared to 2021, with a record 70% hike in cases.

However, Gauteng still has the most hijackings overall, with a 17% increase. According to Crime stats SA, over 19 380 vehicles were reported hijacked and stolen in Gauteng in less than a year. 

Cartrack, a global leader in stolen vehicle recovery, has also reported a rise in hijacking incidents in the past year. In January 2023, Cartrack recovered 1228 vehicles with an estimated vehicle value of R188.103.71, 52 suspects were arrested, one firearm was recovered, and five jammers were confiscated.  

Where do most hijackings take place in South Africa?

Cartrack has announced the top 10 worst hijacking hotspots in South Africa from January to December 2022, reporting the most incidents in Gauteng, KZN, and Cape Town: 

  • Braamfontein
  • Alexandra
  • Jabulani
  • Boksburg North
  • Pretoria Central
  • Olievenhoutbos
  • Krugersdorp
  • Witpoortjie
  • Durban Central
  • Klipfontein

Six hijacking trends or techniques to watch out for

We encourage you to be alert for new tactics or techniques used by criminals to hijack victims. 

In fact, the SAPS have highlighted a disturbing new trend in hijacking cases, with a growing number of incidents also involving kidnappings as part of the crime.

Here are some other trends and methods to be aware of, so you can be more prepared and  protected: 

  1. Driveway hijackings: Victims can become a target in their driveway when they are waiting for the gate to open or close, which allows criminals to box them in when they are entering or exiting their property.
  2. The blockage method: Hijackers ambush unsuspecting motorists or even delivery persons in drive-throughs of fast food establishments, where they have little room for escape and are forced to comply with demands. There are usually two vehicles involved. One car will be in front of a motorist, and another car will be behind them to block them from reversing. Armed suspects from the car in front will try to force the motorist out of their car and then make a getaway. 
  3. The ‘tap tap’ trap: Criminals will deliberately drive into or ‘tap’ the back of your car in traffic. Motorists are then hijacked when they get out of the car to assess the damage.
  4. The good samaritan: Perpetrators convince targets that something is wrong with their vehicle at traffic lights, and they are then hijacked when they get out of the vehicle, to see what’s ‘wrong’ with the vehicle.
  5. The slow-moving traffic method: Criminals will choose a spot in traffic, where it’s moving slowly or they will follow a target at a distance, and then they will later move closer and strike the victim at a traffic light.
  6. The imposter method or fake “blue light” trend: Perpetrators will pose as officials to get motorists to pull over on the road or to grant them access to their properties, on the road, at homes, and businesses. 

Protect yourself against hijackings

Unfortunately, hijackings are a reality, but there are certain measures we can take to protect ourselves. Remember, it’s important to check that you are not being followed, and you should always be extra vigilant when leaving malls, the office, or when heading home late at night –  that is when most follow-homes take place. 

Also make sure that you keep emergency numbers on hand such as your security provider, SAPS, and neighbours, if you suspect that you are being followed. 

Click here to find out more ways to protect yourself against being a hijacking victim. 

We hope that you never find yourself in a hijacking situation, but it’s important to remember to remain calm and do exactly as told by the hijacker and not make any sudden movements. 

Your life matters more than your vehicle. 

If you ever find yourself in a hijacking situation, Cartrack is a leader in stolen vehicle recovery, with an above 90% stolen vehicle recovery rate. Our highly trained air and on-the-ground recovery team, and 24-hour emergency response team, will do everything possible to recover your vehicle and give you emergency assistance.

We also have safety-add-on features, for even more additional safety, such as Cartrack’s Protector – an emergency service, accessed via the Cartrack app 24/7, which you can use in the event of a breakdown, medical situation or if legal advice is needed for a motor-related query. 

And there’s also CarWatch, which keeps a digital eye on your car and will send you an alert if it moves or is started without your permission.

Sounds like ultimate safety, right?

Visit Cartrack today, to get a vehicle tracking device installed and learn more about how we can keep you and your vehicle safe 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.