An eNCA special report highlights the increase in kidnappings in South Africa over the last 10 years. Reporter Michael Appel found that it's not just the wealthy being targetted but ordinary citizens as well. Courtesy #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - Police statistics on kidnapping paint an incredibly bleak and scary picture with about 16 kidnappings a day, the majority in Gauteng followed by KwaZulu-Natal.
The 139-percent increase in kidnappings over the last decade is shocking.
But, former head of the South African Police's Investigative Psychology Unit Gérard Labuschagne says it's likely much worse.
"I think we should take that as a minimum of what is out there," said Labuschagne from L&S Threat Management.
"We do know that kidnapping, in general, specifically kidnapping for ransom, have a high rate of not being reported for various reasons."
Private investigator Mike Bolhuis from Specialised Security Services says the situation is out of control.
"The overall kidnapping situation in South Africa, in all its facets, has increased immensely," Bolhuis said.
"What we have seen recently is very worrying."
It would appear criminals are no longer just targeting the wealthy.
"A youngster would just be taken and held for a few hours," Bolhuis said.
"Money would be e-walleted, or paid into a Checkers or Pick n Pay, all these obscure accounts, and then released."
Then there is the question of help. Can you rely on the police or security services? Opinions are mixed.
eNCA approached the police for comment but were unsuccessful.
This growing crime trend poses the question of whether specialised police units could be part of the solution.
eNCA reporter Michael Appel found that it's not just the wealthy being targetted but ordinary citizens as well.
In Part Two of our investigation, we examine what family members should do if a loved one is being held.