The most popular days and times for hijackings

The more you know, the more you can avoid becoming a statistic…

The fact that information like this is something that has become the norm in our social media feeds and email inboxes is pretty unfortunate, but the reality is that we need to know so that we can avoid becoming another statistic.

Arrive Alive reports the following days of the week and times of day when hijackings have occurred in the past…

Days of the week & times of day on which hijackings occurred:

National (Sept 2016 – Sept 2017)

The analysis indicated that hijackings occur every day of the week, reaching a high on Fridays, due to motorists being more relaxed and traffic increasing earlier on a Friday. Weekends show a lower hijacking rate due to syndicates checking their stock and placing orders on Mondays as well as the fact that there are fewer vehicles on the road. This also explains why Tuesdays and Wednesdays show more hijackings.

Time of the day:

National (Sept 2016 – Sept 2017)

The hijacking of vehicles reached its lowest point at 02h00 in the morning. Hijackings are low during the night and early hours of the morning and start increasing at 06h00 due to motorists leaving home for work and stabilises throughout the day.

A drastic increase occurred from 17h00 in the afternoon due to motorists heading towards home. Vehicles hijacked during this peak hour (16h00 – 20h00) may be explained by the fact that people returning from work are often tired, frustrated and not alert to potentially threatening circumstances. Negligence on behalf of the motorist could also not be excluded, e.g. an idling vehicle is left unattended to open a gate in the driveway. This trend is not new and the motorist will become the prey of hijackers.

Another explanation for this phenomenon is that highways are congested with traffic, which makes it almost impossible to catch hijackers involved without air support once they have disappeared into traffic.

Weapons used during hijackings:

As it was earlier indicated, in the majority of vehicle hijackings, firearms were used to commit the crime. Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal reported the highest incidence of vehicle hijacking. The circulation of illegal firearms in South Africa is disturbing and has to have a direct influence on the increase of vehicle hijackings and violent crime in general in South Africa.

The trade in stolen firearms is a lucrative industry in South Africa and the rewards seem to justify the risk of apprehension for the criminals involved. The punishment of crimes does not seem to have a deterrent effect on potential criminals anymore.

Also read: Hijacking incidents still an issue, warns Fidelity ADT

The analysis indicates that firearms most used are pistols and revolvers. A very small percentage of vehicle hijackings are committed using knives, hands, high calibre guns and shotguns.

When to Shoot:

It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances. People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.

What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defence? The following points are important:

  • The attack must be unlawful.
  • The attack must be imminent or have commenced.
  • The attack must not have been completed. One cannot act on grounds of self-defence for an attack committed an hour earlier.
  • The defensive action must be directed against the attacker.
  • The defensive action must be proportionate to the circumstances. The value of the property involved and the instrument used for an attack are important considerations.

The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man. The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing.

In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death. This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the

SAPS and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged. If your action is within the principles of self-defence, there is nothing to worry about.

Types of hijackings:

Freight Hijacking – A commercial vehicle is hijacked not only to secure the vehicle but also its cargo, which can be of substantial value. Frequently, the cargo is of more interest to the hijacker than the truck.

Transport Hijacking – The vehicle is taken for the express purpose of using it as transport during other crimes such as drug dealing, burglaries, bank robberies and gun running. The vehicles are probably later cannibalised for spare parts or simply dumped.

Showmanship Hijacking – A gang operates out of egotistical bravado, acting on the “this is a cool thing to be doing” rationale. Peer group pressure is very high and individuals may be coerced into more dangerous and daredevil approaches; being labelled a “sissy” if they don’t. Thus intimidation, violence and vandalism are associated with the crime. Drugs and alcohol may also be a motive as theft of the victim’s personal belongings are commonplace.

Operational Hijacking – A group formally work together in a more structured way. They usually have experience in car theft and have established contacts within the motorcar underworld that will receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.

Syndicate Hijacking – The most organised of all and often have international connections. A network of hijacking groups is established with the overall coordinator, syndicating out work so that he remains out of view in exactly the same way as the drug baron uses pushers. This makes identifying and arresting the ultimate boss very difficult. Additionally, a syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations.