Vehicle crime on the increase in South Africa

27 August 2015

The crime rate in South Africa is expected to continue to rise as economic and social conditions deteriorate – it’s a trend that is already shown in the sharp climb in truck and car hijackings.

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That’s the opinion of John Edmeston, global CFO of Cartrack Holdings, who told Wheels24 that as economic growth contracts, unemployment figures grow and regard for the rule-of-law deteriorates, theft and hijacking for sale into the illicit local and cross-border markets will increase.


About 50% of stolen and hijacked vehicles are disposed of within South Africa, he adds, and 30% are exported to other countries while the rest find their way into chop-shops and the parts market.

“As long as cash-strapped consumers are prepared to look the other way to save a buck and fuel demand criminal syndicates will continue to operate and flourish.”

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Official crime statistics show a 12.3% increase in carjacking to 11 221 reported cases, Edmeston says. His company’s truck hijacking stats increased by 16% in the financial year to February 2015. “This aligns with similar figures released by the Road Freight Association.”


The association, he explained, reported 1150 truck hijackings across the industry during the same period – “a rapid and significant escalation”.

More reports, he added, are showing a direct correlation between the crime rate and economic and social conditions. “Car and truck hijackings are generally perpetrated by organised crime syndicates, thus the hijacking increases also suggest that organised crime is on the rise in South Africa.”

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