What fleet management can do to help combat vehicle theft

Crime is a prominent issue in South Africa and the bad news is that it is going to get worse. According to crimestatssa, there were 14 602 hijackings in South Africa in 2016, up from 12 773 in 2015. The prevalence of crime is closely linked to socio-economic factors and with the decline in our economic and social conditions, the crime rate is set to increase. This will also affect vehicle theft, including car and truck hijackings.

Why is there more crime?

A declining economic growth rate results in a rising unemployment rate and this causes the rule of law to be eroded. This is why there was a 12.5% increase in vehicle theft from 2016 to 2017. Most vehicle theft is carried out by organised crime syndicates, indicating that these organisations are on the rise. Research by the United Nations shows that crime increases during economic crises. The Unemployment rates in South Africa have reached an all-time high and forecasters indicate it will rise further in the next few years. This is a bleak indicator that we can expect more crime in future, including vehicle theft.

Fleet Managers have to be concerned about vehicle theft, but freight hijacking is an additional worry. In these types of hijackings, the vehicle is taken but the valuable cargo is of more interest to the hijacker.

What can be done about hijackings?

Arrive Alive advises drivers to be vigilant especially around their driveways because this location offers criminals multiple escape routes. Hijackings also take place at intersections or traffic signs when vehicles have to stop, or when drivers pull over to stop their vehicle to answer a phone call or to read a map. Hijackers sometimes target post offices, parking areas, petrol stations and schools where vehicles are dropping off or picking up children or other places where vehicles idle, or stop to load passengers. Hijackers also use vehicles to force drivers off the road. Drivers should be aware of scams where the perpetrators dress as police or traffic officers or want to take vehicles that are on test drives.

Some tips to avoid hijackings

  1. When you are approaching your house, be extra alert and check if you are being followed.
  2. Stop your vehicle on the inside of the gate and put your gear in reverse while the gate closes. This will create confusion and hopefully buy you a few seconds in the event of a hijacking.
  3. Check your driveway and street before entering or leaving your premises.
  4. Keep your driveway well lit and clear of shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.
  5. Keep an eye out for suspicious pedestrians close to your house.

Avis Fleet is a fleet management company with extensive experience and expertise to help businesses optimise their vehicle fleet. For more information about our outsourced fleet solutions click here, or feel free to contact us directly with any questions you might have regarding our services.

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