Tracker cautions of increase in fleet crimes during ‘silly season’

Gauteng has been identified as the hub for hijackings that take place between October and November every year.

This is according to vehicle tracking company Tracker, which observed an increase in fleet crimes reported during what is now referred to as “the silly season”.

The information is contained in aggravated data recorded between 2017 and 2022. 

The data attribute the silly season to a rise in business activity including Black Friday, Cyber-Monday, and the festive season, which the company said show that the hijacking of vehicles has been consistent over the period under review. 

In 2022, Gauteng remained the busiest province during the silly season, with an increase in hijackings between 11am and 1pm.

It has been reported that Gauteng deals with an average of 57% of national fleet hijackings between October and November.

Duma Ngcobo, chief operations officer at Tracker, said: “In 2018, 53% of fleet activations reported during this timeframe were hijackings.

“In 2020, fleet hijackings during this period had increased to over 61% nationally. [Fast] forward to a further two years and this trend continues, with 2022 reflecting that 64% of fleet activations during October and November related to hijacking.  

“This can be attributed to opportunistic criminals taking advantage of the additional fleet activity during this key retail trading period before it significantly declines in December.”

Fleet hijackings have also been recorded in other areas including Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in Western Cape and in Durban.

“The most common modus operandi continues to be what we call blue-light robberies, when drivers are approached by suspects dressed in SAPS/metro police or other law-enforcement uniforms, who then rob and/or hijack the vehicle,” said Ngcobo.

“This is followed by the ‘something is wrong’ tactic in which suspects urge drivers to pull over to tend to a fictitious issue with their vehicle, and then use that opportunity to carry out a crime.”

 The top five hotspots in order of activations in Gauteng are: 

  • N12 highway
  • N1 highway
  • N14 highway
  • N3 highway
  • R28 (Randfontein Road)

Ngcobo said that security should be beefed up with technology to nab hijackers during the period between October and November.

“During this time, it’s advisable for fleet managers to employ technology to track trends including increased crime incidents and traffic volumes,” said Ngcobo.

“Using this data will allow for the proactive planning of alternative routes, ensuring the safe and timely delivery of their loads.

“Unfortunately, there is no indication of fleet hijacking and theft incidents declining. Therefore, taking necessary precautions by utilising technology to safeguard drivers and their loads is fast becoming non-negotiable.”

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here

Latest News