Statistics on Crimes Related to Vehicles Have Returned to the Levels They Were at Before COVID-19

Lockdown put a damper on things, but according to Tracker, it is back on schedule for car-related criminals as statistical data revert to pre-Covid rates with a 58% climb from the same period in 2021.   Here are a few new strategies that you should keep an eye out for!

According to the most recent Vehicle Crime Index from Tracker, which covers the period from January to June 2022, Gauteng is the most dangerous region in South Africa for vehicle crime. As a result, the number of reported crimes across the country has increased to the same level as it was before COVID was released. This increase can be partially attributed to an increase in the volume of vehicles on the road as a result of our return to our previous routines following the release of COVID. Additionally, criminals and organized crime groups have adopted new methods of operation, such as keyless access theft.

The data used to compile the Tracker Vehicle Crime Index comes from Tracker’s installed car base of more than 1.1 million vehicles.

The most recent Index for the first half of 2022 shows that the rate of crime in Gauteng has continued to rise. The province is now responsible for 61% of all Tracker incidents across the country, which is an increase from the 58% recorded during the second half of 2021. This is preceded by KwaZulu Natal, which accounts for 17% of all occurrences, and the Western Cape, which accounts for 8% of all incidents.

According to Duma Ngcobo, Chief Operations Officer at Tracker, the quantity of stolen vehicles has increased by 7% across the nation, and hijackings have increased by 4% over the previous review period. The number of incidents in Gauteng has increased by 10% since the previous review period, with thefts accounting for 48% of all incidents and hijackings for 52% of all incidents. We believe that the rise in incident quantity can be attributed, at least in part, to a return to “normal” as folks find their way back to their workplaces and social events dramatically increase following the relaxations in the Covid-19 protocol.

The total number of incidents that have occurred as a result of Covid has risen to the same level as those that were recorded before the lengthy period of Covid lockdown and the subsequent social adjustments. It would appear that, during the year 2022, there will be an increase in the use of vehicles, which will provide criminals with increased opportunities and access to engage in activities such as keyless access thievery to alleviate owners of their assets.

A pair or team of thieves is required to commit a keyless access theft. One of the thieves may covertly follow a car owner as they move away from a locked car, all the while intensifying the signal that is constantly transmitted from the vehicle’s key fob to their accomplice, who could then gain entry to the car and drive away with it.

However, the total vehicle crime index for all other regions combined has remained largely identical to the previous review period, despite the fact that the volume of vehicle crime has significantly increased in Gauteng. KZN’s 58% hijacking to 42% theft ratio reflects a recent increase in the propensity for hijacking, and Western Cape statistics still demonstrate that hijackings dominate instances in the province with a 76% hijacking to 24% theft ratio. Both of these ratios reflect recent increases in the likelihood of hijacking.

Ngcobo continues, “However, we have recognized an indication that the upward path in hijackings we have monitored through the Covid months may have turned over a new leaf. With the first decrease in the percentage of national hijackings vs thefts documented since the beginning of Covid, we have seen that this may have occurred.”

In a previous article, Tracker discussed the worrisome rise in the prevalence of car theft as a proportion of total car crime that has occurred over the course of the past three years. While Tracker’s most recent statistics for the period of January to June 2022 are concerning, they do show a slight decrease in the proportion of hijackings when compared to the statistics for the previous period. Because there are currently more cars on the road than there were during the time when Covid’s working and social restrictions were in place, it appears that there is a better opportunity for thieves to engage in theft techniques without having to resort to hijacking.

Although incidents of vehicle crime can take place at any time of the day or night and on any day of the week, there is a discernible increase in the number of reported hijackings between the middle of the week and Friday. The late afternoon and early evening represent the highest incidence of these crimes, with the peak occurring between the hours of four and eight in the evening. The hours between 11 am and 3 pm see the highest number of reported thefts, and Saturdays see the highest overall volume of thefts. Tracker’s efforts culminated in 3,110 vehicles being recovered, 273 arrests being made, and the retrieval of 19 firearms during the time period of January 2022 through June 2022.

“Always be aware of where you are and what is going on around you, as well as the various possible outcomes that could occur while you are traveling to your destination. Sharing your travel itinerary with a friend or family member through an app or other digital platform can help raise the alarm at the appropriate time in the event that you do not arrive as scheduled. Tracking devices for vehicles play an important part in the process of vehicle recovery, and thanks to advances in technology in this field, they are also an absolute necessity for the protection of drivers and passengers.”

Ngcobo concludes that “even though many people view vehicles as depreciable assets which can be replaced, lives cannot, and safety should be the prime concern,” we can see that the rate of criminal activity is on the rise.