Between July and September of this year, a total of 9,586 cars and motorcycles were reported stolen at South African police (SAPS) stations across the country, equating to an average of just over 104 cars stolen per day, around four every hour, or one every 15 minutes.
While still a staggering amount, this is a welcome drop of 3.5% compared to the same period in 2022 in which a higher 9,937 cases of theft were reported, revealed the SAPS’ latest crime statistics.
The station where most of these incidents were reported in 2023 was Brooklyn, Gauteng which accounted for 232 cases, an increase of 29.6% year on year. This was followed by Durban Central, KwaZulu-Natal at 179 cases (+35.6%), and Roodepoort, Gauteng with 149 cases (+4.9%).
In a similar vein, carjackings in the three months between July and September were down by 2.3% YoY to 6,009 incidents, averaging out to approximately 65 carjackings every 24 hours.
For this category of crime, the stations that received the most reports were Harare, Western Cape with a total of 114 cases (+14%); Nyanga, Western Cape with 82 cases (-53%); and Protea, Gauteng with 81 cases (+125%).
The crucial distinction between theft of a motor vehicle and carjacking is that theft is when a criminal takes a car or motorcycle without the owner’s knowledge or consent, but with carjacking, a criminal must have used force against the owner to commit the crime.
Theft of motor vehicles or motorcycles in South Africa, July to September 2023
Vehicle-related crimes are slowly going down
In general, vehicle-related crimes between July and September decreased in South Africa. In addition to the decline in thefts and carjackings, truck hijackings were also down by 3.4% to 542 cases.
Another positive development seen in the latest crime statistics is that motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a result of police action increased by a tremendous 31.3% to 14,127 incidents.
Police minister Bheki Cele attributes these relative victories to the success of Operation Shanela, which consists of a specialised team of law enforcement officers that regularly conducts vehicle checkpoints, stop and searches, blue light and foot patrols, compliance inspections, and tracing of wanted suspects in targeted crime hotspots.
The exception, however, is that robberies of cash-in-transit vehicles and theft out of motor vehicles/motorcycles both increased during the three months on review, the former growing by 14% to 64 cases and the latter by a less severe 0.3% to 22,850 cases.
The frequency of vehicle-related crimes recorded in South Africa between July and September 2023 is detailed in the following table:
|Crime category||July to September 2023||Change||Top station|
|Motorists caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||14,127||+31.3%||Madadeni, KZN|
|Robbery of Cash-in-Transit||64||+14%||Krugersdorp, Gauteng|
|Theft of motor vehicle/motorcycle||9,586||-3.5%||Brooklyn, Gauteng|
|Theft out of motor vehicle/motorcycle||22,850||+0.3%||Cape Town Central, WC|
|Truck hijacking||542||-3.4%||Orange Farms, Gauteng|
Keyword: Over 104 cars are stolen in South Africa per day – The hotspots