News / South Africa / Crime

Odette Venter
3 minute read
18 Mar 2021
11:30 am

Hijackings and vehicle theft on the rise in Pretoria

Odette Venter

The so-called blue light robbers are rife, where robbers pretend to be from the traffic or police department.

Picture: iStock/djedzura

A spike in hijacking and motor vehicle theft was noticed over the past few months in Lyttleton, as well as fraudulent scams.

“But generally speaking, from year to year, crime in the area declined with 20% to 30% over the past few years, however, it is still too high,” said Lyttleton police spokesperson, Dave Miller.

“Excluding of course last year when crime dropped dramatically during level 5 lockdown. One could see how crime escalated once again with every level adjustment, as it became easier for criminals to blend in and have access to communities.”

Most crime in Lyttleton is property related, motor vehicle theft which spiked, included, Miller said.

The police have many partners assisting in fighting crime, Miller said. Such as the Community Policing Forum (CPF), NGOs and response units.

ALSO READ: Midrand police warn public of increased hijackings

“A lot of crime prevention has to do with our residents that report suspicious activity. We want to encourage residents to keep reporting it, it helps a lot.

“Residents must remember when a syndicate enters an area they do surveillance first. Once they notice police visibility, they move on to another area. Report suspicious activity.”

Miller said hijacking has increased. The so-called blue light robbers are rife, where robbers pretend to be from the traffic or police department. They pull people off the road and take their vehicles.

“And then there is a new trend where the driver of a passing vehicle will point to your tyre and pretend there is something wrong with your vehicle. Only to be followed by another vehicle and another driver doing exactly the same.

“By then one will think to pull over at a safe spot and check, and it is there where a couple of vehicles also pull in and rob motorists of their vehicles. They operate with about four or five cars.”

ALSO READ: Hijackings, vehicle theft increases as restrictions are lifted – Tracker

Miller said hotspots for hijacking in the area is at the N1/R21 flying saucer interchange from the airport on the R21, as well as on the N1 in the area of Botha Avenue and N14-split.

“Smash and grabs happen more towards Fountains Circle, in the area of Groenkloof nature reserve, Eeufees area and Saint Georges.”

Police receive a lot of complaints about fraudulent scams. He said people advertise goods and products on social platforms, people meet and get robbed.

“Be extremely cautious when you buy something from the internet and need to collect something somewhere, or need to meet someone.

“Never go on your own, always take someone with you and meet at a public place.”

Miller also warned that people buy cars from the internet and pay for it without having seen it first. He warned residents not to buy something that they haven’t seen and that also goes for pets.

People who sell their motor vehicles on the internet must also be cautious, Miller said.

“Don’t be fooled by money transferred into your account when you receive a notification of payment. Many people deliver their motor vehicles to the so-called buyer only to learn that the money disappeared.”

This article was republished from Rekord with permission 

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