It’s an unfortunate reality that while the festive season in South Africa is generally a time for relaxation and family bonding, this period of the year also witnesses a dramatic increase in the level of crime. Vehicle safety is a particular area of concern for families heading for a much-needed annual break.
This trend can be largely attributed to the absence of a predictable structure during the holiday season, as holidaymakers tend to go out more, resulting in them parking their cars in unsecured areas. This is markedly different to a typical work week, where most vehicles are safely parked at office complexes and homes.
However, this trend shouldn’t dampen your holiday spirit, as by taking into account certain factors, you should enjoy a happy and safe festive season.
The key to managing holiday risk is to be aware of the most important scenarios, and to take simple, relevant safety precautions:
Think about where you park
Criminals tend target vehicles situated in easily accessible spaces, which is often the case during the holiday season, with many vehicles exposed at venues such as beaches, sports stadiums and shopping malls. The most prudent way to minimise risk in these situations is to park more centrally where there is plenty of light and your vehicle is in full public view. No matter how hard it is to find parking, it’s important that you don’t park your car a long way from the venue you’re visiting, as areas that aren’t inhabited by many people will give criminals easy, unobserved access. It’s worth spending a few extra minutes searching for a good parking place rather than leaving your car in a vulnerable spot.
Don’t forget the manual check
Signal jamming is an easy way for criminals to steal your vehicle, and it is a criminal practice that can easily be avoided. This occurs when drivers walk away from their cars while clicking their remote to lock it. However, unbeknownst to them criminals have interrupted the signal, and the vehicle is therefore unlocked. To avoid this occurrence, simply check that your vehicle has been locked before departing the vehicle.
Keep your valuables with you
There is a high chance of possessions being stolen from a vehicle if valuables such as cell phones tablets and wallets are left inside them in plain sight. Smash and grab criminals are especially adept at spotting easily accessible items at traffic lights, and leaving valuables in parked cars is an open invitation for theft. As such, it is important that you don’t leave any valuables accessible and open in a vehicle, and always keep them either on your person, or hidden from view and inaccessible at all times.
Wheel and gear locks are a great deterrent
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent the theft of your car, a wheel and/or gear lock makes your vehicle less of a target, and serves as a useful preventative security measure.
Wheel and/or gear locks may not be a daily necessity in the working week, but they can provide vital protection when the vehicle is in crowded and unfamiliar holiday place. Criminals are less likely to be eager to target a vehicle that will take them longer to steal and which will cause more attention to be drawn their way
However, in this regard, it is also important to have an alarm system as well, as the combination of a system and a lock mechanism will be a more effective deterrent for would-be criminals.
Always be aware of your surroundings
The festive season is a time when people are more relaxed, and as such, they tend to let their guard down. Criminals are quick to pick up on the fact that people are not aware of their surroundings and view these people as potentially easy targets.
It’s critical that you have your wits about you even when you’re in holiday mode; take the appropriate steps to ensure your safety and that of your vehicle. Make sure that you aren’t being followed, look around for suspicious activity, avoid high crime areas and be attentive to any threat. By simply doing the small things, you will prevent becoming another victim.
If you want even further protection during the holiday season, we recommend purchasing one of our vehicle tracking products for as low as R99 a month. Contact an agent today to find out more.
Vehicle tracking has become an important technology for the safety of not only fleet vehicles but also for the individual driver. With the extensive range of optional extras offered by Cartrack, you will be covered for almost every eventuality.
It’s an unfortunate reality that while the festive season in South Africa is generally a time for relaxation and family bonding, this period of the year also witnesses a dramatic increase in the level of crime.