Hijackings in SA – How to keep your child safe

protect your child during hijacking

45 hijackings happen in South Africa daily

Being a parent in South Africa is scary, quite honestly. You want to keep your kids as safe as possible. This is tough when you live in a country that has such a high crime rate.

Hijacking is one of the biggest concerns for South African parents. In 2018, 16,325 hijackings were recorded in South Africa. This was according to the Statistics South Africa.. That’s over 44 hijackings every day. Another scary fact is that many hijackers are targeting the back seat of your car. That’s where your children sit.

Even though people are more cautious – even to a point where they are running red lights because they’re nervous of stopping at robots – they are not completely safe. Hijackers are becoming bolder and more creative in the way they approach their victims.

As a parent, you do your best to keep your children safe. From being caught off guard and having a gun pointed at you to panicking about your child or children in the back seat, falling victim to a car hijacking is extremely traumatizing. As awful as it is to think about, it’s something we need to know about and prevent.

Today, hijacking is a multi-million-rand industry. Thieves may plan the events or just take any opportunity that comes their way. It’s important that you know how to identify threats as well as avoid any threats entirely.

The best thing we can do is to:

  1. Beware of hijacking trends
  2. Know the best ways to prevent being a victim of a hijacking
  3. Know what to do in the case of a hijacking

Hijacking trends 2019

  1. Most hijackings happen between 5 pm and 8 pm. People are often more relaxed and laid back after work, making them easy targets.
  2. Never seem distracted. Hijackings happen when you least expect it so always be aware of what’s happening around you. 
  3. Make sure you have smash-and-grab protection installed. Hijackers will either smash your window at an intersection or approach your car while you’re opening a gate. 
  4. Drivers are approached at petrol stations. Make sure you always look at what’s going on around you while filling up your tank.
  5. Hijackers often pose as traffic officers. If you are approached by an unmarked vehicle with a blue light, don’t stop if you feel unsafe. Put on your hazard lights to show them you’re willing to cooperate and drive to your nearest police station.
  6. Hijackers target “easy targets”. This includes people driving alone or with young kids.
  7. Hijackers use tactics to distract you. They use various tactics, for example: throwing cement on your car, pointing to your car to tell you something’s wrong with your tires or trying to speak to you through your window.
  8. Parking in secluded, badly-lit areas can make you a target. Rather park in well-lit areas and pack and unpack your car where a lot of other people can see you.
  9. Hijackers may follow targets, therefore, vary your routes. If you feel as though you’re being followed home, drive around to lose the follower before going home.
  10. Don’t leave too much room between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Hijackers often cut in front of cars with theirs to corner the driver.
  11. Many hijackings happen when other cars aren’t around. At night, approach intersections and traffic lights slowly to try catch the green light. Waiting in a stationary position may increase your chances of getting hijacked. 

What to do during a hijacking

Each circumstance differs. The following tips were discussed by EWN and VW Driving Academy:

  1. If you are travelling with one child, seat them directly behind you. It will be easier to help your child out of the car if they are directly behind you on the right-hand side of the car.
  2. If your children are old enough, disengage your child-lock system.
  3. If your children are old enough, teach them how to loosen their seat-belts and open the doors independently when instructed.
  4. If you have a central locking system, unlock all the doors before getting out of the car and handing over your keys to the hijacker. This will ensure you can open your rear passenger doors and help your kids out of the car.
  5. Keep your keys in reach. It will most likely be your best bargaining tool, which can buy you time to get your children out of the car.
  6. If you have a key-less start car, don’t keep your key in your pocket. The hijacker may think you are reaching for a gun when you reach for your keys.
  7. Once you’re outside your car, turn your body so that your shoulder is facing the hijacker. This will prevent your vital organs from getting hit if the hijacker shoots at you.
  8. Don’t fight with the hijacker but rather follow his instructions and remain calm. Do not interact unless you have to.

Worst areas for hijackings in South Africa

See the worst areas for hijackings in South Africa below:

Station Province Reported Carjackings 2018
Nyanga Western Cape


Jeppe Gauteng


Booysens Gauteng


Honeydew Gauteng


Moffatview Gauteng


Delft  Western Cape                       


Johannesburg Central                   Gauteng


Kempton park Gauteng


Vosloorus Gauteng


Tembisa Gauteng


Umlazi KwaZulu Natal


Khayelitsha Western Cape


Cleveland Gauteng


Dobsonville Gauteng


Kwazakele Eastern Cape


Moroka Gauteng


Mfuleni Western Cape


Roodepoort Gauteng


Harare Western Cape


Bramley Gauteng


Mamelodi East Gauteng


New Brighton Eastern Cape


Mondeor Gauteng


Alexandra Gauteng


Soshanguve Gauteng


Pinetown KwaZulu Natal


Atteridgeville Gauteng


Ivory Park Gauteng


Florida Gauteng


Rietgat Gauteng



No one ever thinks this will happen to them… Please always be aware of your surroundings and keep calm in all situations.

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