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Chop-shop crime lives off poor

2012-12-04 15:18

SAFETY FIRST: Cartrack SA says the number of people without car insurance in the country is staggering.

Alarming insurance industry statistics paint a serious picture of under-insurance - even no insurance - covering an estimated 40% of the 10-million cars on South Africa's roads.

According to Cartrack SA, this statistic is significant because it is one of the key drivers for the existence of illegal chop-shops and back-street panel-beaters dealing in stolen car parts.

BOOMING TRADE

Operations manager Jerry Pierce said: “Unless the issue of vehicle insurance becomes a legislated requirement to drive a vehicle in South Africa there will be little chance of stemming the growing demand for illegal parts for vehicle owners who can't afford to fix a damaged car legitimately.

“Chop-shops and back-street panel-beating is a booming trade because they can fix vehicles at cut-rate prices because they fund their businesses mostly through criminally obtained parts. "

Trends also show that younger drivers often over-extend themselves financially by buying expensive vehicles. Besides the monthly vehicle instalment, they soon find that their insurance premium is more than expected - inexperienced drivers attract significantly higher insurance premiums. 

“Chances are that if you can get a rock-bottom price at a repair shop," Pierce said, "that there’s more to it than meets the eye. Don’t be complicit with any suspicious activity – crime exists because, as consumers, we often create a demand for it."

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