In this blog you’ll learn more about crime hotspots on SA roads, tips to avoid a smash-and-grab, find out what to do if you’ve witnessed such a crime and learn where to keep your handbag safe from snatchers.

Believe it or not – to an extent, it is possible to avoid becoming a target of a smash-and-grab incident. If you keep your car doors locked and remain vigilant of potential distractions, you’re already better off than the average driver. According to South African crime stats, a total of 125 076 smash-and-grab incidents have been reported from April 2018 to March 2019. That’s a shocking number, especially if you take into consideration the fact that a portion of these could have been avoided with the necessary precautionary measures and self-education. We’ve got the info which might help with the latter, so keep reading. 😉


So, what’s a smash-and-grab?

According to Arrive Alive, a smash and grab is a criminal activity characterized by smashing through some sort of barrier (e.g. vehicle window) while the car is stationary at traffic lights or stuck in slow moving traffic and grabbing something of value (e.g. jackets, handbags, laptops, etc) from the victim’s car.

Police spokesperson, Captain Augustinah Selepe, says “Smash-and-grab criminals are targeting female drivers with handbags with valuables in front and back seats of the car. These criminals further target cars with open windows or drivers speaking on their mobile phones.”


Smash-and-grab hotspots in SA

Snatchers mainly target drivers in big cities. The following areas are classified as hotspots:



  • The William Nicol Drive offramp from the N1 from the Sandton side
  • The corner of Old Pretoria Road and 1st Avenue in Alexandra
  • New Road offramp in Midrand
  • Riviera Road offramp near Killarney Mall
  • Intersection of Christiaan de Wet Road and Wilgerood Road in Roodepoort
  • All the traffic lights along Louis Botha Avenue between Alexandra and Hillbrow
  • Parkwood and Saxonwold (Rosebank precinct)
  • Upper Houghton and Killarney (Hillbrow precinct)
  • Between 10th and 11th avenues and 4th and 7th avenues in Parkhurst (Parkview precinct)
  • Glenhazel, Lombardy East and Sandringham (Sandringham precinct)
  • Orange Grove and Highlands North (Norwood precinct)
  • Yeoville, Bellevue and Bellevue East (Yeoville precinct)
  • Wynberg, Bramley, Marlboro and Kew (Bramley precinct)



  • The Atterbury Road offramp from the N1 in Menlyn
  • Lynnwood Road offramp on the N1
  • John Vorster Drive offramp from the N1 in Lyttelton
  • Jean Avenue offramp from the R28 in Centurion
  • Rigel Avenue offramp from the N1 in Erasmuskloof
  • Corner of University Road and Lynnwood Road in Hatfield
  • The traffic lights along Walker Street in Sunnyside
  • The Lynnwood Road and Hans Strijdom Drive intersection in Garsfontein
  • The traffic lights along Nelson Mandela Drive in Sunnyside
  • The traffic lights along Simon Vermooten Road in Silverton
  • Along Beyers Naude Drive and Paul Kruger Street in Wonderboompoort
  • Nelson Mandela Drive, Duncan Street and Walker Street in Sunnyside
  • The R55 in Erasmia
  • Burnett Street, Hilda Street and the Atterbury Road offramp in the Brooklyn area
  • Delfi Avenue and Garsfontein Road in Garsfontein



  • N2 off-ramp, near the M41 (going towards Gateway)
  • Southern freeway approaching the Victoria Embankment in the Durban city centre
  • Intersection of South Coast Road and Grimsby
  • N2-Inanda intersection on both sides of the bridge
  • Traffic lights near the Engen garage in Riverside Road


Cape Town

  • Jakes Gerwel Drive at the R300
  • Kromboom Road
  • Jan Smuts Road
  • Bluegum Road near Bonteheuwel
  • Around Siqalo and Kosovo informal settlements in Langa.


How to avoid a smash-and-grab

SA crime stats reveal that mainly female drivers fall victim to smash-and-grab incidents. Distracted drivers on their mobile phones or those driving with open windows are also easier targets for these criminals. As evident in the smash-and-grab hotspots listed here, drivers in big cities like Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town are more at risk.

What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve. This especially holds true for the valuables in your car. The floorboard, dashboard and seats of your car aren’t good places on which to leave your precious belongings. Instead, hide your valuables to keep them out of sight from wandering criminal eyes. Keep your handbag, laptop and other chunky valuables in the car’s boot for added peace of mind. If you cannot part with your handbag for the trip, prop it under your seat (if there’s space).


A few more tips



What to do if you witness a smash-and-grab attack



Drive safe and remember to always be vigilant when you’re behind the steer.

Give us a call on 0861 368 7873 or send us an e-mail to if you’d like to learn more about cover for your valuables.