HAVE YOU LOCKED YOUR CAR? Vehicle theft is on the rise, especially luxury cars. Make sure your car is not an easy target. Image: Shutterstock
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Vehicle theft is on the increase in South Africa with luxury cars prime targets. Here are some tips to help prevent your car being stolen...
Insurance company Alexander Forbes Insurance has urged owners of such vehicles to ensure they are adequately insured after reports of a spate of thefts by what are believed to be syndicates in Gauteng, kwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
Gari Dombo, the MD of AFI, says vehicle owners should be more vigilant; they should also ensure they have comprehensive motor insurance.
SYNDICATES IN ACTION
He added: “Most of us don’t think about how to prevent car theft until it is too late - but car-theft is a reality."
Hugo van Zyl, chief executive of the South African Insurance Crime Bureau, was quoted in the news media as saying luxury vehicles were being targeted by syndicates which acquire information from a servicing dealer.
A criminal, knowing when a service is due, poses as an employee of the dealer and offers to collect the vehicle for service. When it's handed over.. it's gone in less than 60 seconds.
Dombo added that, to be safe, take your car to the service provider yourself. That way you can prove the car was in their possession.
Tips to reduce the chances of your vehicle being stolen:
1 Always lock your car's doors - thieves are opportunistic.
2 To avoid loss through remote-locking signal jamming physically check that the driver’s door is locked before leaving the car.
3 Park in a secure, well-lit car park near security cameras or a security guard.
4 Don’t leave your belongings in plain sight. Put handbags, laptops and other valuables in the car boot; better still, leave valuables at home.
5 Keep track of your spare key. Make sure that, if it is at home, it is hidden or in a safe - and not visible through a window or door.
6 Make certain your car is left with the gear shift - manual or auto - in 'park', with the parking brake up and steering wheel turned to point the front wheels towards the kerb to make it harder to tow away or on to a car-carrier.
7 Never leave an unattended car running.
8 Secure your car by fitting it with an alarm, anti-smash 'n grab film on the windows, immobilised and with the ignition disabled and a tracking device on. Have the vehicle's identification number engraved (VIN) on expensive parts to make it unattractive to car thieves and harder for them to sell.