Recent data published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) shows that a vehicle is hijacked approximately every 25 minutes in South Africa.
Just between January and March 2022, there were 5,402 hijackings, most of which happened in the country’s main metros, according to South Africa’s crime statistics for Q4 2021/2022.
The use of key re-programmers and signal grabbers are still a common tactic used by criminals, and special equipment is used to create a long-range link between your key and the vehicle, said Netstar.
The vehicle tracking service said that criminals are developing new methods to target cars that use more technology, such as cars with start buttons.
This applies to some vehicles where you have the key on you, and you simply push the “start” button to drive the vehicle. These vehicles also unlock when you approach it without you having to press the unlock button, noted Netstar.
It added that many of the tactics used by criminals remain the same, and listed the following ways these types of vehicle-related crimes are committed.
Netstar said that hijackers’ most preferred method of taking a person’s car or other valuable is keeping a person hostage at gunpoint until the tracking unit in the vehicle is found, and when the recovery company calls to find out if all is in order, they force the person to advise the company that all is okay.
The prime targets at the moment are primarily mid-level sedans and luxury SUVs, and the least likely targeted are cars such as Mini’s, Netstar said.
“Specific brands may be targeted; however, we find a vast variety of vehicles are hijacked.”
Security company Fidelity’s data shows hijackers most often targeted Toyota and Volkswagen vehicles, with targeted models including:
Security and police officials have warned of a disturbing increase in the number of car and truck hijackings in and around Gauteng, with an increasing number of incidents being perpetrated by fake police officials.
The trend sees groups of between two and five suspects who dress in traffic police uniforms and use a blue light mounted on the dashboard of their vehicle. Victims who believe they are dealing with bona fide police officials are held up against their will and dropped off in different areas around Gauteng.
Where hijackings are happening and how to prevent them
Netstar noted that hijackers use jammers in public places. Places such as malls, gyms and other high-traffic areas like school gatherings, sports events or church gatherings are hotspots for remote jammers. People are also vulnerable to hijackings when they have withdrawn cash or intend to go to an ATM.
Netstar offered the following tips to stay safe and prevent a possible hijacking:
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