Hijackings are a part of life in SA – one happening on average every 32 minutes. Is your car is increasing your risk of becoming a victim, and what can you do about it?
This post was published on 27 May, 2019

Crime has become part of daily life in South Africa, with hijacked and stolen vehicles high on the list. South Africa loses an estimated R8.5 billion annually due to vehicle thefts and hijacking, with a hijacking taking place on average every 32 minutes.

Before you buy a new car, it might be wise to investigate where it features on the list of most hijacked vehicles and what you can do to reduce the risk. This might help you to stay safe and even mean a significantly lower car insurance premium. Old Mutual iWYZE investigates…

Most hijacked cars in SA

According to a recent article in carmag.co.za, carjackers often go for popular vehicles which is easy to resell or use the parts in other vehicles. As a result, the most hijacked vehicles in South Africa is the Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

According to the same article, hijackers also tend to target commercial vehicles for the load, or high-value SUVs that are stolen “to order”. In this category the Hilux, Ranger and BMW X5 all seem to be popular targets.

4 risk factors to consider

The following questions should guide you to do some research in order to determine whether your existing car, or a new model you are considering, is at a heightened risk of hijacking or theft:

  1. Popularity of your car
    Hijackers don’t want your car so that they can keep it. They want to either sell the car as is, or for parts, as soon as possible. This makes more popular vehicles a bigger target.
  2. Does it have security weak points?
    This is where research becomes important. Criminals are quick to catch on to security defects and exploit them. As recently as April, Ford owners across the country had their cars broken into or stolen en masse due to what seems to be particularly weak locks and other flaws in the built-in security system. Make sure you are aware of any such issues before you buy.
  3. Can your car’s parts be used in other vehicles?
    Find out whether your car has parts that is also used in taxis or other vehicles. Such cars are also targeted more frequently.
  4. Age
    Criminals looking for an easy hijacking opportunity often target older vehicles because chances are that these vehicles will not have a high quality immobiliser or other security features. If you drive an older car, beef up your security features.

6 ways to reduce your risk

  1. Stay vigilant close to home
    Most hijackings happen at home, where you are a softer target. As you get closer to home, be vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious cars following you, or people hanging around the street. If you feel uneasy, keep driving.
  2. Pay special attention at intersections
    A large percentage of hijackings occur at intersections – even busy ones in broad daylight. Be wary of anyone trying to distract your or command your attention, like tapping on your window. Also check your mirrors and surroundings constantly to make sure no one is sneaking up you from a blind spot.
  3. Keep moving as long as possible
    Your car has to be stationery to be hijacked. When driving up to your home, don’t pull up in front of your gate and open it – this way you become boxed-in. Wait in the road until your gate is fully open before you drive in. Close it again as soon as possible.
  4. Back it up
    Shopping centres are also a favourite hotspot among hijackers. If possible, reverse your car into a parking a spot against a wall so that you have a better view of your surroundings while packing away your purchases into your boot.
  5. Be prepared
    Hijacking are extremely stressful and a cool head is required in this life-threating situation. Also keep in mind that the hijackers will have heightened adrenalin and stress, so do your best not to agitate them. It also helps to practice a hijacking situation beforehand – especially if you drive with children. Should you ever be faced with a real-life hijacking situation, you and your kids will be better prepared to handle the situation.
  6. Avoid hijacking hotspots
    Pro-Active SA has compiled a handy map of hijacking hotspots in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, based on information from the SAPS, tracking companies and the SAICB. You can save the link or view it here.

You can’t always avoid the risk of a hijacking, but you can make sure that you have affordable, reliable car insurance place should you ever become a victim. Old Mutual iWYZE provides comprehensive car insurance, packed with extra benefits and personalised to your exact needs. Get a quick online quote now.

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