Lo­cal po­li­ce warn of spi­ke in car thefts

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

In the last few mont­hs, the­re has been an a­lar­ming in­cre­a­se in car thefts in and a­round Graaff­rei­net, with a peak in Sep­tem­ber of fi­ve ca­ses of theft or at­temp­ted theft.

In one week al­o­ne, two cars we­re sto­len in Cra­dock S­treet, and one at­temp­ted theft occur­red in S­pan­dau­vil­le. The fol­lo­wing week du­ring the Ka­roo-lus Fe­s­ti­val, two vehi­cles par­ked in S­toc­ken­stroom S­treet we­re sto­len.

In the se­ven mont­hs from A­pril to the end of Oc­to­ber, 16 ca­ses of theft of a mo­tor vehi­cle (which in­clu­des at­temp­ted theft) took pla­ce, w­he­re­as in the sa­me pe­ri­od last y­e­ar, on­ly six ca­ses we­re re­por­ted.

The­se cri­mes are in­ves­ti­ga­ted by a spe­ci­a­li­sed u­nit from Cra­dock, the Vehi­cle In­ves­ti­ga­ti­on Ser­vi­ces.

Ac­cor­ding to lo­cal SAPS mem­ber War­rant of­fi­cer Ga­ries Dey­sel, a syn­di­ca­te is at work, and he says the vast ma­jo­ri­ty of the­se are not rand­om op­por­tu­nis­tic cri­mes.

Ma­t­ching foot­prints ha­ve been found at dif­fe­rent cri­me sce­nes, and it is thoug­ht that lo­cal scouts run in­tel­li­gen­ce net­works a­bout the lo­ca­ti­on of suit­a­ble vehi­cles and the ha­bits of the hou­se­hold.

The two cars ta­ken on the sa­me nig­ht in Sep­tem­ber we­re re­co­ve­r­ed, to­get­her, at Kom­ga, on their way to the for­mer Trans­kei. One sus­pect was ar­res­ted af­ter crashing the car he was dri­ving in­to a po­le, but the ot­her ran a­way. It is thoug­ht most sto­len cars are ta­ken to the for­mer Cis­kei and Trans­kei a­re­as.

The ma­jo­ri­ty of the vehi­cles tar­ge­ted are ol­der cars, pre-2004, with the ex­cep­ti­on being the Hyun­dai H100 de­li­very vehi­cle. Parts from the­se vehi­cles are ap­pa­rent­ly in gre­at de­mand, as they fit Qu­an­tum bu­ses. Ol­der vehi­cles are ge­ne­ral­ly fa­vou­red by car thie­ves as their se­cu­ri­ty sy­s­tems are u­su­al­ly less so­phi­sti­ca­ted, they are kno­wn to be re­li­a­ble, and parts are of­ten in­ter­chan­ge­a­ble.

Mo­dels that seem to be par­ti­cu­lar­ly at­tracti­ve to the syn­di­ca­tes are Toyo­tas (the ol­der Corol­la, Tazz and Hi­lux), Ford La­ser Tra­cer and Ran­ger LDV, VW Golfs, ol­der mo­del I­su­zu one-ton bak­kies, and Hon­da Bal­la­des.

The ma­jo­ri­ty of thefts occur be­t­ween 23:00 and 02:00, and are ne­ar­ly al­ways from pri­va­te pre­mi­ses.

Ob­vi­ous­ly, the i­de­al de­ter­rent is for a car to be par­ked in a loc­ked ga­ra­ge, or at le­ast in­si­de loc­ked ga­tes.

Un­for­tu­na­te­ly this is not al­ways pos­si­ble as ma­ny pro­per­ties on­ly ha­ve s­treet par­king a­vai­la­ble. In so­me ca­ses too, es­pe­ci­al­ly w­hen pe­op­le ar­ri­ve ho­me la­te af­ter a nig­ht out, it is sim­ply less trou­ble to le­a­ve the car out­si­de rat­her than wre­st­le with he­a­vy ga­tes.

Ot­her pre­ven­ta­ti­ve me­a­su­res sug­ge­sted by W/O Dey­sel in­clu­de in­stal­ling a tracking de­vi­ce and ap­plying se­cu­re glass po­lyu­ret­ha­ne on all win­dows, me­a­su­res which are cos­t­ly but less than the cost of re­pla­cing a sto­len car.

Ot­her sug­ges­ti­ons are the old-fashi­o­ned s­teer­ing lock bars, ge­ar locks and bra­ke locks, all of which can pro­ve to be a de­ter­rent to the op­por­tu­nis­tic thief.

An au­di­ble a­larm is al­so re­com­men­ded, as the sud­den loud noi­se will of­ten sca­re pe­op­le a­way. In the sa­me way, a dog can help a­lert the o­w­ners to the pre­sen­ce of pe­op­le in the y­ard. E­ven if it does not pre­vent the vehi­cle from being ta­ken, the noi­se may a­lert hou­se­hol­ders and neig­hbours, and help the po­li­ce to es­ta­blish an accu­ra­te ti­me of the cri­me.

“In the end, if a thief re­al­ly wants to ste­al a par­ti­cu­lar car, they will find a way to do so, but it is the re­spon­si­bi­li­ty of mem­bers of the pu­blic to ta­ke all re­a­so­na­ble pre­cau­ti­ons with their vehi­cles, and at le­ast de­ter the op­por­tu­nist,” said W/O Dey­sel.

The ma­jo­ri­ty of the vehi­cles tar­ge­ted are ol­der cars, pre-2004.

The­re has been an a­lar­ming in­cre­a­se in car thefts in Graaff-rei­net.

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