Car theft has experienced a recent spike in South Africa.
Image: Akhararat Wathanasing / 123RF

According to claims data collected by Dialdirect Insurance, there has been a recent increase in vehicle theft in South Africa. The majority of vehicle thefts take place during the week and occur between the hours of 12pm and 6pm.

“The spike follows a festive season lull indicating that criminals also take a break over the holidays. Now that 2020 is in full swing, criminals are back in force and we urge our customers to remain vigilant,” said Bianca De Beer from Dialdirect Insurance. 

Vehicles are being targeted while parked on the street and unoccupied. Usually, two or more suspects scan the area for possible targets. Once they have chosen their mark, the suspects will park their own vehicle near or next to their mark. To remain inconspicuous, the criminals act like they are working on their vehicle or waiting for someone.

To avoid becoming a victim of vehicle theft, Dialdirect offers the following advice:

  1. Always park your vehicle in a well-lit, busy area.
  2. Don’t leave any parcels or valuable items on seats.
  3. Increase your vehicle’s security by installing a good alarm system and immobiliser.
  4. Have a vehicle-tracking device fitted to your vehicle.
  5. Repair broken windows or locks timeously.
  6. Check to see that your vehicle is indeed locked, and that remote jamming did not occur. 

That panic that you feel after you discover that your vehicle has been stolen must not prevent you from reporting it to the police. 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.

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

  1. If you have a vehicle-tracking device installed, immediately call your tracking company to report the theft.
  2. Report it to the SAPS and file a stolen vehicle report within 48 hours.
  3. 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.
  4. Report your claim to your insurance company. If your vehicle is stolen after hours, call your insurance company on the next working day.

“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 De Beer.

By Sunday Times.