The latest South African crime statistics from the South African Police Service show an increase in kidnappings across the country during the last quarter.
The SAPS also reported a slight nationwide decline in motor vehicle theft over the same period.
Despite this, tracking companies report that criminals are using sophisticated technology to adapt to new technologies, using programmers to counteract cars with keyless entry or jump start capabilities, such as luxury SUVs.
Tarina Vlok, CEO of Elite Risk Acceptances, a specialist high-net-worth insurer and a subsidiary of Old Mutual Insure, said the company isn’t necessarily seeing the same trend.
“We have not yet seen a marked increase in hijackings in the Elite book, with only two recorded for the year 2022 to date. However, we have seen a marked increase in vehicle thefts, with the majority target being Toyota luxury vehicles and other late model vehicles; a picture that is reflected in crime statistics,” Vlok said.
The recent report highlights a 7.7% increase in Pretoria, 49% increase in Honeydew, 33.3% increase in Krugersdorp, and a shocking 63.5% increase in Boksburg North. There are other areas in the greater Gauteng region that have also reported a big increase in motor vehicle thefts.
“This is reflected in our 2022 claims statistics. Our specialist research unit is working with select manufacturers to find long-term solutions to the problem, but for the time being we can only combat these trends through qualification and underwriting,” he said. Vlok.
If vehicle theft increases in specific areas, it’s likely that over time more insurers will require anti-theft and protection devices to be installed in those areas, or with specific vehicle brands frequently targeted, he said.
Similarly, Old Mutual Insure is also reporting an alarming rise in vehicle theft.
“Our Stolen Vehicle Repossession unit has reported the theft of more than 400 high-end vehicles in 2022 alone,” said Lizo Mnguni, spokesperson for Old Mutual Insure. “One of the main concerns for us is keyless entry vehicles, as unions operate using relay devices to enter a vehicle and use the keyless start functionality.”
Last year, news reports suggested that unions are targeting new high-end vehicles like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Fortuner, with the Toyota GD6 range being of particular interest to criminals.
“This is supported by the findings of our investigative units and business partners, and many of these stolen vehicles are moved across the border before they can be recovered,” Vlok said. “Another trend we see is that these vehicles are often stolen from shopping malls, schools or religious events.”
Vlok says car insurance for South Africa’s wealthy is critical, given the rise in theft.
“If your high-end custom-spec car has special electronic features or added security systems, you need to take precautions so you don’t become an easy target for criminal syndicates,” says Vlok.
Below are the best Vlok tips:
Read: Good news for the South African auto industry
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