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Business Against Crime pushing for crime-fighting microdot technology


For South African car owners, the future is dotted with bright lights at the end of a long dark tunnel as new technology to recover stolen cars makes its way into the market.

Microdots, which are smaller than a size of a full-stop, are laser-printed dots that are superimposed across the body of the car and contain vital vehicle information that can be used to determine if a vehicle is stolen or not. 

Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) is spearheading efforts to get the technology rolled out across the country in their continual drive to curb the alarming number of hijackings and vehicle thefts in Mzansi.

Statistics reveal in South Africa more than 90 000 vehicles worth more than R9-billion are stolen every year.

BCSA's Microdot project manager, Fouche Burger, told SA-The Good News that the crime-fighting organization is waiting for the government to approve the legislation authourising the use of Microdots by every manufacture.

But as it is, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has announced that Microdots will be compulsory for all new vehicles registered on or after 01 January 2010.

Used for decades by spies to send information secretly and securely, Burger says it won't be long before police will start using the technology to identify stolen vehicles at roadblocks. The microdots are too small to see with the naked eye, and can be identified by police when examining stolen cars using magnifying glasses and specialised equipment to see microdots "Currently there are specialized units within the SAPS utilizing the technology as a number of car manufactures have started using Microdots," says Burger.

As of 31 May 2009 over 370 000 vehicles in the country where Microdotted by the following companies: Nissan SA, BMW SA, Avis Rent-a-Car, Toyota (with the Quantum minibus), SAPS, SAVRALA and Vesa, Burger revealed.

"The effect of their decision to mark all their vehicles, even in difficult economic times, will benefit the country for many years to come. What we hope to see, however, is other manufactures and the leasing, rental and insurance industries, using the technology," he pointed out.

When the technology is used, 10 000 microdots are applied to some 88 different locations in a vehicle. And according to Burger discovering and removing all of them is practically impossible and any attempt in doing so results in the car's body being severely damaged.

It also helps that the technology used to identify microdots is cheap and easily available, said Deborah Hunt, Media Liaison at BACSA. "Police can use a low-tech magnifying glass which is cost effective".

International statistics indicate that Microdot technology leads to a decrease of between 50 and 60 percent in the number of stolen and hijacked vehicles and an improvement of more than 55 percent in recoveries.

Microdots can also be used in recovering major car components sold as used parts and statistics indicate that this also is a deterrent for hijackings and motor vehicle theft.

Themba Makamo
SA Good News

Monday 6 August 2012

Business Against Crime pushing for crime-fighting microdot technology

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