Car hijacking and vehicle theft increased an alarming 32% and 31% respectively in the 10 months to December last year, vehicle tracking company Cartrack said yesterday.
Cartrack is a global provider of fleet management, stolen vehicle recovery and insurance telematics services and the statistics are of cases reported against vehicles protected by it.
Vehicle crime statistics from Crimestatssa.com also show a rapidly increasing number of carjackings, with Gauteng residents suffering almost 50% of the incidents reported nationally. This is followed by 17% of hijackings occurring in KwaZulu-Natal and 14% in the Western Cape.
It is estimated that many stolen vehicles are not reported to the authorities. “These trends are of major concern. It is therefore reassuring that we have been able to maintain our recovery rate at 94%, despite the rapid growth in vehicle-related crimes,” John Edmeston, global deputy chief executive of Cartrack said.
In the 10 months to December last year, the company returned vehicles to an estimated value of R510m to their rightful owners. This is over and above the vehicles valued at R450m recovered in 2015 and R320m in 2014.
The company’s data showed there are, on average, 45% more vehicle thefts on a Saturday and Sunday than on any weekday and most vehicles are stolen between 11am and 3pm, presumably to avoid being caught in traffic while the thieves make their getaway.
With regards to hijackings, the group’s data shows that 38% more passenger vehicles are taken on weekends. Night time is also when drivers should be most alert, as 7pm and 1am seems to be the busiest times for would-be hijackers. Stolen vehicles and hijackings seem to be the scourge of the Third World.
The demand for the product seems to be mainly concentrated in developing countries with high vehicle crime rates. Cartrack has a presence in 24 countries spanning across Africa, Europe, Asia and the US, yet stolen vehicle recovery as a stand-alone product is most in demand in South Africa and Mozambique where vehicle theft remains a serious problem.
Vehicle theft is also an issue in certain Asian countries though not at the same level as in southern Africa. The telematics technology typically applied in most other countries outside of southern Africa is aimed at fleet management with stolen vehicle recovery being less of a market demand driver.
That said, the use of telematics for insurance risk management purposes, that is mostly for accident risk curtailment and accident reconstruction purposes, is growing in its level of acceptance as a valuable tool.