Despite the sophisticated technology used in modern cars today, theft of items from parked vehicles continues to be a crime prevalent across South Africa.
Community Policing Forum (CPF) crime data gathered by 7Arrows Security has recently revealed that vehicle break-ins and the theft of valuables from vehicles has increased. In some cases, criminals gain access to valuables inside the vehicle by breaking a window or a lock, the growing trend is to use remote jamming devices, which prevent the car from locking.
According to Maanda Tshifularo, head of Dialdirect Insurance: “These crimes predominantly take place at garage forecourts and shopping centres during the day and commonly involve two perpetrators.
“New shopping centres are particularly vulnerable as they typically don’t have jamming solutions in place yet and have new security staff who aren’t as experienced in screening visitors to identify potential threats.
“That said, a few simple precautions can be taken to ensure your belongings and vehicle are protected.”
All vehicle makes are susceptible and as such, drivers should take heed of these tips.
- Park in a secure, well-lit space, where a security guard is present.
- Be mindful of remote jamming and check manually that the door handle is locked, even if the locked alarm has sounded.
- Be vigilant as you get out – “sliders” (criminals who appear to be walking past) can open the car door in the split second before you lock it and escape with valuables.
- Clear your car out at the end of each day, leaving nothing behind to tempt criminals.
- Anti-smash-and-grab film on your windows is an additional layer of protection against break-ins.
- Valuables such as phones and handbags should be kept out of sight, even while driving.
- Never leave house keys or important papers in your car.
- Insure portable possessions you carry with you regularly.
Managing director of 7Arrows Security Jason Mordecai recommended a “sense check”.
“When getting out of the car, look around; do you see a car with occupants that look suspicious? Tug the door handle to ensure it is locked. “Use your eyes and ears to double check for signs the vehicle is locked.”