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Vehicle owners are being hit hard with thefts of valuables from parked cars as car jamming gangs targets shopping centres and schools in the northern suburbs.  A report on the front page of the Star newspaper yesterday (25 Jan) says a dramatic shootout unfolded at Bryanston Parallel Medium Primary School between police officers and a man in a black Subaru believed to be a remote control jamming thief.

The incidence of car jamming has seen a dramatic increase over the last 18 months. According to the SAPS, of the 40 cases of theft from vehicles reported in Sandton each week, at least 85 percent were thefts in which jamming took place.  According to insurance broker Aon South Africa, they have also seen a marked increase in the number of claims as a result of jamming over the last few months.

“Car jamming has significant implications from an insurance perspective.  The reality is that unless there are signs of forcible or violent entry, most insurance policies won’t pay out for claims of theft of valuables from your vehicle” says Kate Lellyett, Business Unit Head Personal Product Solutions at Aon South Africa.

Jamming involves the blocking of car remotes using a household remote.  Both car and household remotes operate at a 400 megahertz frequency and criminals effectively prevent the locking action of the car from being activated.  They then have easy access to the vehicle and your valuables without any forced entry.

“Schools are being targeted as these are particularly easy pickings for criminals as many parents leave valuables such as handbags, wallets and laptops in their cars while they walk their children into school.  According to the Retail Motor Industry, not much can be done to stop jamming as car remotes are electronic transmitters.

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“Your only real defense against falling victim to jamming is to mitigate your risk by being aware of the practice and personally checking that your doors are locked.  Make sure you hear the beep of your alarm system and the audible sound of the locking mechanism.  Then physically check your doors and boot to make sure.  It goes without saying that your valuables should be kept in your boot and out of sight.  Always park in a safe area, preferably with plenty of people about, where security guards are in place and the area is well lit,” adds Kate.

Your best defence is to take precautions:

Conceal any items left in your vehicle or better still, take them with you

  • Check that all doors and windows are locked before you walk away from your vehicle
  • Park your vehicle in a high traffic area close to the entrance to shopping malls where there are plenty of people about
  • Park where security guards are visible
  • Ensure the area is well lit at night

The reality is that jamming is being executed by professional gangs and motorists will need to remain vigilant to prevent falling victim to this scam.  Finally, check your policy wordings as products such as By Design and By Preference offer cover under the specified all risks section of the policy.

This article was released by Teresa Settas Communications (and they allowed us to pop it onto our blog for your benefit)

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