Using tech to tackle car theft in SA

 ·20 Oct 2014

Vehicles in South Africa fitted with tracking devices and similar technology have more than an 80% chance of being recovered – and less than 10% chance of being recovered if not.

This is according to data from vehicle tracking firm Tracker.

Addressing police officers at the recent SAPS Awards, Police Minister, Nkosinathi Nhleko has identified technology as vital in the fight against crime.

Nhleko referred to a 2012 study by Ascensia which found that citizens in general believe that police should open up more to digital tools to enable them to fight crime.

“[The Ascensia study shows that]…citizens have made it clear that they want to support police in fighting and preventing crime, but that they need more information from police to do so,” the minister said.

“Digital tools should play an important role in communicating with citizens who want to support police to fight crime, but do not feel adequately informed of police activities. By adopting new digital technologies police can create new communication channels to engage citizens and gather leads to support their investigations.”

Recent legislation implemented in South Africa stipulates that all vehicles must carry microdotting technology, with approximately 1,000 hidden markers that hold the identity of that vehicle so that in the event of the vehicle being stolen it can be easily identified.

The locations of the 0.5mm dots are not easily visible to thieves.

“17% of vehicles in SA are now fitted with Datadot technology and 16,000 police officers have been trained to identify datadot technology,” said Kheepe Moremi, marketing lead at anti-theft and microdot tracking company, Datadot.

According to Moremi, cars with microdot technology have a 63% higher recovery rate than those without.

Similarly, cars with tracking devices have more than an 80% chance of being recovered and less than 10% chance of being recovered if they do not have a tracking device fitted.

Along with microdotting, complementary technology that has both a deterrent and a recovery value is vehicle tracking.

Tracker says it recovers more than 350 cars per month at an average vehicle market value of R100,000.

Tracker’s Ron Knott-Craig said that, working closely with the SAPS, Tracker technology has helped lead to 13,000 arrests.

“This demonstrates that advancements in vehicle and crime fighting technology is imperative and can make a significant impact.”

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