Tracker has supplied to FleetWatch the following statistics on corporate client hijackings which include trucks and fleet vehicles. The period of measurement is from Jul 2018 to June 2019.
According to Tracker’s statistics, Gauteng carries 55% of activations with 39% being light commercial vehicles and 13% being medium and heavy commercial vehicles. 54% of activations occur between 10h00 and 15h00 – a trend which remains unchanged from the previous year – with the highest concentration of activations occurring between 11h00 and 14h00.
High risk areas are:
- N12: Benoni, Boksburg, Delmas, Eloff, Emalahleni, Springs, Sundra and Etwatwa.
- R24/ R21: Edenvale, Kempton Park, Clayville
- R23: Benoni, Springs
- N3: Heidelberg, Katlehong, Vosloorus, Bedfordview and Germiston
- N1 (Western Bypass), N14, N12 (Moroka Bypass), R59, R512, R552, N17 and R28 are areas of concern
According to Tracker, the modus operandi of the criminals remains unchanged from last year with the three most common being as follows:
Blue Light Gangs
Suspects drive vehicles fitted with blue lights, sirens, or wear police apparel in order to stop the vehicle. The trend is to use unmarked vehicles. The suspects flash their headlights, blue lights or use a siren. The driver, believing it is law enforcement, pulls over and while one suspect will approach the driver, the others (up to five) get into the vehicle from the other side. The driver is then taken hostage in the suspect’s vehicle and dropped in a location far enough away from the scene in order to buy time to strip the vehicle to find a tracking device and/or avoid being apprehended. The driver is unable to get urgent help.
“Something is wrong”
Suspects in unmarked vehicles drive next to the truck and get the driver’s attention. They indicate that there is something wrong with the vehicle by pointing at tyres, or pointing at back of the truck indicating that the load is falling off or something is wrong with the vehicle/ trailer. The driver then pulls over to check the vehicle. The suspects in the car that got his attention as well as an additional vehicle then box the truck in and the driver is taken hostage. In both cases above, drivers are often assaulted and, in a few cases, fatally wounded.
The driver hands the truck over to the suspects for remuneration. The driver feigns being robbed – even going as far as to describe a “blue light” robbery.
Advice to drivers
FleetWatch urges companies to advise their drivers that if an unmarked car wants to stop them, they must not do stop, even if flashing blue lights are activated or a siren is sounded. Rather drive to the nearest safe stopping place. If they are genuine cops, they will understand what you are doing and follow you. Similarly, if someone in a car alongside points out a ‘fault’ on your vehicle, do not stop on the side of the road. Drive to the nearest safe place before checking it out. In both cases, if you have a telematics system fitted, press the panic button for backup.