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By 23 September 2013 | Categories: news

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Even though instances of carjacking have been reduced by 37.6% over the last 4 years*, it remains a far too common crime on local roads. We look at some of the technology available to car owners to help with vehicle recovery and theft deterrent.

Tracking your car from on high

Stolen vehicle recovery systems have been tried and tested locally. Companies such as Altech Netstar, Cartrack, and Tracker fit vehicles with difficult-to-detect devices that allows them to trace hijacked vehicles, working with the SAPS to recover stolen cars. Some solutions even have the ability to remotely kill the ignition, shutting the engine off completely so that its criminal occupants can be more easily arrested.

The pricing for these solutions usually work on a once-off, cash price basis, with users paying a monthly subscription for the trace and recovery services. Customers can also sign a contract to have the device installation done for free, but then pay a higher monthly subscription over the duration of the service contract.

Making identification easier via Micro Dot technology

Micro Dot or Micro Tag technology does not prevent hijackings, but does make it substantially easier to identify a car or parts thereof as stolen. This tech sees a unique number on the Micro Tag being associated with a registered car owner. The number is kept in the database of the company offering the Micro Dot service (such as Recoveri), but circulated globally to ensure that the car and all its parts can be easily identified as stolen property should your car cross the border or end up in a chopshop.

These Micro Tags are virtually impossible to remove without damaging the components on which they have been placed, with tens of thousands of dots spanning the length and breadth of your car.

Curtailing smash and grab occurrences

Besides hijacking and car theft, South African motorists also have to contend with the prevailing threat of smash and grabs. A number of windscreen installers and tinters are offering smash and grab safety film installation for car windows. These prevent the window from shattering when hit by the assailant, and reducing the likelihood of the driver or front passenger getting cut by falling pieces of glass. Make sure to ask the service provider what thickness of film would be best suited.

Carjacking prevention skills

When it comes to carjacking, knowledge, as with most things in life, is power. Possessing the right skills to react to a hijack situation and the situational awareness to avoid possible instances of its occurring can prove invaluable. A number of carmakers actually teach carjack prevention skills, either as an added option to- or as part of- their advanced driver training courses. These include BMW and the VW Driving Academy.

* According to the South African Police Service’s crime statistics overview 2012/2013.

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