Latest Vehicle Targets by Criminals in South Africa

The majority of South Africans base their car decisions on aesthetic appeal, clear infotainment screens, general comfort, or the capacity to support an active lifestyle. What makes them equally attractive among thieves is the comparable reputation for dependability linked with the top-selling cars in SA.


South African hijackings

The latest South African Police Service (SAPS) data shows that the number of recorded hijackings in this nation has risen by up to 30% since 2019 and by 15% since 2021. It should come as no surprise that the big centres of Gauteng, KZN, and the Western Cape are the provinces with the most hijackings, but the Eastern Cape is exhibiting alarming development.

According to statistics from Fidelity ADT, Toyota accounts for 31.6% of all reported occurrences of auto theft in South Africa, followed by VW with 14.1% and Ford with 10.4%. The segment-topping Toyota Hilux bakkie and its Fortuner SUV sibling consistently rank at the top of the list of the most frequently hijacked cars in the nation, contrary to the popular Volkswagen Polo, which has long been targeted by thieves, including those merely looking to steal parts from parked cars.

Local criminals are also lured to the robustness and proven dependability of the Nissan NP200 half-ton bakkie. Another common target is the Ford Ranger double cab, which is bigger and more comfortable overall than the Nissan. Ironically, the most favoured exterior colour among thieves and carjacking gangs is white, which is likely to increase the resale value of your car and lower your insurance rate.

The Polo, Hilux, NP200, and Ranger all made the cut on both lists when you compare the aforementioned most frequently stolen cars to the models in South Africa’s top 10 best-selling car list. It’s crucial to note that, although these cars undoubtedly appeal to car thieves, they are statistically more likely to be stolen simply because there are more of them on the road.


Security tips to keep your car safe

There are several things you can do to prevent your vehicle from being stolen, ranging from installing anti-theft gadgets to basic actions like activating your emergency stop. Let’s look at several strategies.

Park in a private garage

It should go without saying, but a private garage greatly increases the security of your parked car. It would be best if you could lock the garage. Your car is hidden from view in a private parking garage, and should anyone try to steal it, they would face an additional barrier. The harder it is for thieves to get into your vehicle and the more obstacles in their path, the less likely it is that they will target your vehicles.


Keep your smart key fob secure

The use of electronic key fobs makes locking and starting your car quite simple. Unfortunately, they also make it very simple for burglars to take your car. The worst aspect is that thieves can steal your car without even using your actual key fob.

Key fobs communicate with your car’s computer through a low-frequency signal. This signal instructs the vehicle to do things like start the engine and unlock the doors. Criminals can use a relay box to pick up your car’s signal and transmit it to a second relay box next to it. The internal computer will be triggered by this, allowing burglars to flee in a matter of seconds. Keep your key fob far away from your car, store it inside a metal container like a coffee can, or even wrap it in aluminium foil to prevent this kind of theft. These actions stop the frequency from being transmitted, making it difficult to receive.


Use port blockers

As was already established, to remotely operate the vehicle, a key fob sends a low-frequency signal to the computer in your automobile. A port (imagine it as the equivalent of your car’s USB port) allows access to this computer. Criminals can use this port to reprogram the key fob, making the car only work with a fresh fob they supply if they decide to sell the car. The “plugs” you insert into the port are called port blockers, and they can only be unlocked with a coded key that you have.


Implement a steering wheel lock

A steering wheel lock is a contraption that has been around since the 1980s, but the fact that it is still in use only proves that it is effective. It is quite effective and reasonably priced to use a steering wheel lock to keep crooks away. When the device is placed, it becomes difficult to spin the steering wheel, rendering the vehicle undrivable. Thieves will be deterred from trying to steal your car if you combine this with any of the other contemporary anti-theft systems.


Put the parking brake on

Tow trucks are employed in auto theft as well as when cars are broken down or illegally parked. Before anyone is aware of what has happened, a tow truck can approach a car, hoist it up, and then drive off with it. While applying the parking brake will undoubtedly reduce the tow truck theft process, it won’t always prevent it. Parking brakes often lock the rear tyres of a car, making it harder for thieves to haul away a car that is backed up against a wall or other impediment. This is an easy approach to assist in minimising vehicle theft because thieves sometimes choose the easiest targets to avoid being caught.


Watch out for emerging technology

While using a remote GPS gadget to locate your phone or wallet may seem excellent, you should be aware that thieves may utilise the same equipment for illicit activities. Attaching a tracker to a coveted vehicle is a growingly popular method of car theft. The thieves can then keep track of the car’s exact location and strike when it is most convenient. You can quickly verify popular hiding spots for trackers if you want to make sure that no such device has been installed on your car. These include the areas behind fuel caps, inside front grates, beneath bumpers and inside wheel wells.




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