VEHICLE THEFT – WHAT NEXT?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

According to the latest crime statistics, there were 56 870 cases of motor vehicle and motorcycle theft between April 2013 and March 2014, down 2.6% from the 58 370 cases reported previously.

“Although there has been a reported decrease in vehicle theft, these statistics are still frighteningly high. We all need to be vigilant,” warns John October, spokesperson for Dial Direct Insurance.

The figures released by the SAPS are based on raw figures, cases reported, cases dealt with and cases which led to arrests and convictions. In terms of the breakdown of the provinces, Gauteng was by far the highest with 27 470 motor vehicles or motor cycles stolen, followed by the Western Cape with 9511 and KwaZulu Natal with 8723.

“Vehicle theft is usually only reported to the police when there is a need for an insurance claim so the figure may be higher because one third of vehicles in South Africa are not insured,” explains October.  

It’s very important to know what to do to try and prevent your vehicle from being stolen. The following measures can help thwart thieves:

  • Parking your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  • Not leaving any parcels or valuable items on the seat.
  • Increasing your vehicle’s security by installing a good alarm system, gear lock, steering wheel lock and immobiliser.
  • Having a vehicle-tracking device fitted to your vehicle.
  • Repairing broken windows or locks timeously.
  • Checking to see that your vehicle is indeed locked and that remote jamming did not occur.  
  • Checking to see that you are not being followed home.

“That panic that you feel after you discover that your vehicle has been stolen must not prevent you from reporting it stolen. Many people are so shocked by the experience that they become flustered. There are three very simple steps to follow if your vehicle is stolen.  Following these steps will increase the chances of your vehicle being recovered or replaced speedily,” says October.

The procedure you need to follow should your vehicle be stolen is:

  • If you have a vehicle-tracking device installed, immediately call your tracking company to report the theft.
  • Report it to the SAPS and file a stolen vehicle report within 48 hours.
  • Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, colour, vehicle identification and registration numbers etc. available to assist with the identification and recovery of the vehicle.
  • Report your claim to your insurance company. If your vehicle is stolen after hours, call your insurance company on the next working day.

“Vehicle theft still remains a major concern for the South African public and the short-term insurance industry.   There is no quick-fix for this problem, however heightened security is probably the best way to discourage criminals, and the more deterrent you have the better,” concludes October.



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