Reports of goods stolen from vehicles left unlocked by way of jamming devices are on the increase in Gauteng’s northern suburbs, says insurance company Aon South Africa.
Aon has reported a 25-30 percent increase in this type of crime over the past month, while schools and shopping centres in this area with less prominent security seem to be a preferred hunting ground for the criminals. Thieves are able to block a car’s remote central locking signal with either ordinary gate remotes, or more sophisticated radio frequency jammers that operate on the same frequency, leaving it unlocked and unattended.
“Parking areas outside schools are being targeted as these are particularly easy pickings for criminals as many parents leave valuables such as handbags, wallets, iPads and laptops in their cars while they walk their children into school,” says Mandy Barrett, a spokesperson for Aon South Africa.
About 85 percent of thefts from vehicles reported to the Sandton police this year involve claims of remote jamming. Aon estimates the average value of items stolen in each instance at R12 000 for laptops, cellphones and handbags, and calculates total losses at about R1.2-million a month.
INSURANCE WON’T PAY
However, this figure could be even higher considering that many cases go unreported. Most insurance policies will not cover losses of this type unless there are signs of forced entry to the vehicle.
SA motor companies are aware of the problem, but with one single frequency stipulated by SA’s communications regulator Icasa, they cannot do much but recommend motorists to be extra vigilant.
The only true safeguard is to make 100 percent certain that your vehicle is locked before leaving it unattended and vulnerable.
Awareness is the best defence against this crime.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT MOTORISTS:
-either conceal valuable items in a car, or take them with them
-park in well lit and visibly patrolled areas
-ensure that their car is actually locked and the alarm armed
-report suspicious activity
-read insurance policies carefully, and update with all-risk cover if possible.
Story by Star Motoring