Microdot Technology Update: THEFT OF 4x--4′S AND OTHER VEHICLES IS ABOUT TO BECOME LESS PROFITABLE Article 7 August 2010
THEFT OF 4 x 4 ′S AND OTHER VEHICLES
August 12, 2010
I'm sure you've read reports about the increasing numbers of stolen 4x--4′s, particularly the Toyota Fortuner as well as Toyota Hiluxes.
Just recently, here at 4x--4-insurance.co.za we spoke about these 4x--4 thefts and suggested some practical ways in which owners of the affected vehicles could reduce the risk of becoming another 4x--4 theft statistic.
For South African 4x--4 owners, the future may seem a little brighter now as new technology to recover stolen cars makes its way into the market.
Microdots, which are smaller than 1mm, 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.
We support the Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) initiative to get the microdot technology rolled out across the country in an attempt to curb the alarming number of hijackings and vehicle thefts. Insurance premiums are likely to decrease if we are able to reduce the number of thefts and hijackings of 4x--4′s in South Africa.
Theft of vehicles is big business in South Africa. Statistics reveal 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 authorising the use of Microdots by every vehicle manufacturer.
Burger says it won't be long before police will start using the technology to identify stolen vehicles at road blocks. 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 the microdots. And the South African Police Service (SAPS) has announced that Microdots will shortly be compulsory for all new vehicles registered.
ALREADY BEING USED
As of 31 May 2009 over 370 000 vehicles in the country where microdotted by the following companies: Nissan, BMW, Avis Rent-a-Car, Toyota (on the Quantum minibus), SAPS, SAVRALA and Vesa, Burger revealed.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The process involves the application of approximately 10 000 tiny polyester or metal dots, each less than 1 mm in diameter and each containing the vehicle's identification number (VIN) or a unique vehicle PIN etched onto it by a laser-etching process, as repeated lines of text.
The microdots are applied to 88 different locations on a vehicle. Discovering and removing all of them is practically impossible and any attempt to remove them 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.
It is common knowledge that many of the stolen and hijacked 4x--4′s are dismantled in chop shops and the parts sold as second-hand. Microdots can be used in recovering components sold as used parts and this will certainly be a deterrent for hijackings and motor vehicle theft.