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Motor Accident & Safety
Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Horrifying statistics

The South African Police Service and TRACKER say they have scored another direct hit in the fight against crime with the latest chop shop bust that took place in Barcelona, an informal settlement in Kwa Thema, Springs. Two additional stolen vehicles, engines and vehicle parts were recovered at the scene.

Four armed men hijacked a white truck at the Power/Hamilton intersection in Brakpan. Unfortunately for the hijackers their bounty was soon to be taken away from them as the vehicle they had picked was fitted with a secret tracking unit. The owner contacted TRACKER’s 24-hour National Control Centre and activated the unit immediately.
Sergeants Johan Lourens and Pepsi Reinecke of the East Rand Highway Patrol responded to the signal sent out by the hijacked vehicle’s tracking unit. Within twelve minutes the police had closed in on the vehicle in Barcelona. The chop shop revealed a veritable “goodie bag” of spare parts including two engines that had had their engine and VIN numbers filed off. Two additional (non-TRACKER fitted) vehicles valued at R200 000 were also recovered at the scene. Investigations proved that both vehicles had been stolen: a bakkie that had been hijacked in Springs during May and a passenger vehicle that had been grabbed in June. Police at the scene, with the help of assistant superintendent Barries Barnard of Springs Traffic also laid claim to various car parts belonging to at least five other suspected stolen vehicles.
The successful chop shop bust adds to an already impressive list of crime fighting activities made possible by the private/public sector partnership of TRACKER and the SA Police.
Since October 1996 the partnership has produced the following results:
• 1 226 arrests
• the closure of 57 chop shops
• 45 vehicle crime syndicates uncovered
• the recovery of 5 577 stolen and hijacked vehicles
• Value of TRACKER fitted vehicles recovered to date: R501 million
• 435 additional (non-tracker fitted) vehicles recovered
• for every 4.5 vehicles recovered one arrest is made
• for every 98 vehicles recovered one chop shop is bust
• for every 124 vehicles recovered one vehicle crime syndicate is smashed
• in South Africa every five minutes another vehicle is stolen
• every 50 minutes another person becomes the victim of a hijacking
• vehicle crime costs the insurance industry (and South Africans) about R4,5 billion a year.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:13.7 1st August, 2000
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