I have been fortunate in not yet having been the victim of car theft. My former boss had his bakkie stolen a few years ago from a golf club in Bloemfontein. I will never forget the response from the car guard.
As he was standing there dumbfounded at the empty parking space where he left his bakkie a few hours earlier, the car guard walked up to him and said “Don’t worry Sir, I have the Registration number…!”
As I had to travel much more to Gauteng recently on business, I have also been exposed to many more stories from friends on how and where their vehicles and those of their friends were stolen. With this in mind I have decided to have vehicle tracking installed by Ctrack.
This makes a small difference in reducing my monthly car insurance premium, but a much bigger difference to my peace of mind.
It is not only the individual vehicle owner that is targeted, but especially the business owner transporting cargo. A good friend and partner in Rugby15, Nelio De Sa has a coffee vending machine business called Coffeebreak and he has also decided to monitor his delivery vehicle with the tracking provided by Ctrack. This will allow him not only protection from hijacking but also improved efficiency and cost saving from the effective routing of the vehicle.
During recent discussions with transport and crash investigator Stan Bezuidenhout it has become clear that hijackings have become much more organized and professional. It is especially true when we take a closer look at the transportation of cargo! We decided to share a rather comprehensive section of content on the topic of Truck Hijackings, Crime and Road Safety on the Arrive Alive website and would like to invite vehicle and fleet owners to read this at:
Truck Hijackings, Crime and Road SafetyMuch of the insights in this Q&A also corresponds with the feedback received from a recent Q&A between Focus on Transport and Logistics and vehicle tracking company Ctrack. We would like to share some of these insights:
1. What is the general trend surrounding the hijacking of trucks with cargo in South Africa?
Hijackers target loads that either offer high value goods such as cell phones, tablets, expensive alcohol that they have a definite market for or loads that that can be disposed off quickly such as nappies, cigarettes or any FMG’s.
2. What is the latest Modus Operandi when it comes to Truck jacking?
Without writing a training guide for inexperienced hijackers: The hijackers would gain access to the vehicle by waiting for an opportunity at truck stops, acting as passengers at toll gates or by waiting at environments where the vehicle has to stop. If not possible they would simply pose a law enforcement officers and force vehicle off the road to gain access. The use of SAPS marked vehicles has been on the increase
Hijackers would make use of technology to suppress tracking devices and then “disappear” with the vehicle for some time. During such “disappearing periods” loads are offloaded and placed in storage at pre arranged locations. Unless there is a specific need to retain the vehicle or trailer they would abandon the vehicle after offloading.
3. Do you find that thieves are after the cargo, the truck or both?
The vehicle type has some significance. Smaller vehicle do tend to be utilized after the hijack while bigger vehicles are normally abandoned. Hijackers are not opportunist, they are organised and would know exactly their cause of action, from taking the vehicle to storage of the load to the disposal or utilization of the vehicle afterwards. Vehicle that are stolen to retain are normally taken cross border (Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana) but these, when found, are recovered by our teams as we do not only have a National footprint but also an Southern African footprint.
4. What solutions do you offer to the industry (I.e. tracking systems for the cargo)?
Ctrack has solutions to track the trailer, the horse or the entire combination. If the trailer is hooked by a horse fitted with a Ctrack unit the trailer unit would pair with the horse unit thus tracking the combination. This results in communication cost saving on the trailer. However should the trailer be linked to a different horse it would track independently as a standalone.
Ctrack do offer a live wireless solution that can be placed in the cargo allowing visibility of the cargo when outside the trailer.
5. What is the success rate of recoveries?
There are a number of factors that have an impact on our success rate. We have found that 80% of vehicles stolen happens in the greater Gauteng area. The hotspots have been identified by all service providers and a lot of focus has been placed on collaboration between service provider and transporter to ensure that we can all improve on the current status.
The jamming of units have played a big role in our ability to recover but we have a 93% success rate on recovering vehicles.
6. What would you suggest a driver do in the event of high jacking?
How impossible this might sound the best advice for the driver is to keep calm and cooperate. These thugs do not hesitate to cause harm to anyone. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and be on the look-out for conditions or events that could compromise the individual, the vehicle and the cargo. The sooner the driver becomes aware of a possible hijack scenario the more time he will have to counter act by activating a panic button or reporting his distress.
7. Should there be a bit more secrecy around the counter measures by tracking companies?
A lot has been communicated in the media the past couple of months. Some of the detail reported on compromises the initiative taken by companies to safeguard individuals, vehicles and cargo. The more the media reports on counter measures deployed by tracking companies and transporters the more information the hijackers have to counter these measures.