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Crooks targeting courier vans as more South Africans shop online

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Car theft and hijackings have also seen an increase

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

SINCE the beginning of the lockdown, many South Africans have taken up online shopping as an alternative to stepping out into shopping malls and risk catching a cold or something more serious.

According to a recent Nielsen syndicated study on the impact of Covid-19 on consumer behaviour, 37% of South Africans are shopping online more.

Unfortunately, this new normal has opened up new ways for criminal activities – with increased targeting of courier vans being recorded in the Mondeor and Johannesburg South areas, according to Michelle Pelser, the vice-chairperson of Mondeor CPF (community policing forum). 

“Criminals are using this increased traffic to target these vehicles. In the last week there have been two incidents where delivery vans were robbed as they stopped at their point of delivery. Fortunately, no one was harmed,” she said.

Charnel Hattingh, the marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT said with so many people out of work, criminals are after the goods being delivered, and customers receiving their goods can be harmed if they get in the way. 

“Crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated. A community approach to fighting crime is essential and always pays dividends leading to safer communities,” she added.

With South African businesses starting to reopen, Hattingh also added that there is an anticipation in the rise of commercial vehicles being hijacked for goods, particularly if the economy remains subdued. 

Car theft and hijackings have also seen an increase during this time, as seen in Dialdirect’s claims data. 

Dialdirect’s Bianca de Beer said: “The only sustainable solution lies in constant law enforcement and applying the full might of the law in the punishment of these crimes.”