The ever-present warning signs of remote-jamming at shopping malls, petrol stations and roadside stalls is a constant reminder of the very real threat of crime in South Africa. Perpetrators of car break-ins are rarely caught, making it one of the most common crimes in the country.
“If you haven’t been a victim of remote jamming, chances are that you know someone who has,” says Mike Borello, Operations Executive at Netstar, the pioneers of vehicle tracking and recovery in South Africa. “Furthermore, as there is often no damage or signs of a break-in, insurers can refuse to cover the stolen items,” he adds.
Borello explains that remote-jamming criminals go from one shopping mall to the next, often in luxury vehicles, and wait for their victims to arrive. The jamming device, which looks very similar to a remote control and is usually hidden in a cigarette box, is set to the same frequency as your car remote. Once you exit your vehicle the criminals press the button, effectively blocking your remote control from locking the vehicle.
“The perpetrator walks up to the vehicle and removes the valuables from inside,” says Borello. “There’s seemingly nothing suspicious about their actions, and we have seen on camera footage how some perpetrators don’t even flee the scene. They get into their vehicle and wait for the next victim.”
As thieves become increasingly resourceful it is up to vehicle owners to ensure their vehicle and belongings remain safe. Some tracking technologies can detect signals from potential jamming devices in the vicinity of where the targeted vehicle is parked.
“The moment the device fitted in your vehicle detects a remote-jammer signal, Netstar notifies you via SMS and this allows you to ensure that the vehicle is locked, but also to be aware of any danger close by,” Says Borello.
“This technology pro-actively prevents losses to clients. It not only provides clients with peace of mind, but also plays a role in preventing insurance fraud,” Borello concludes.