4 Useful Tips to Consider Should Your Vehicle Be Stolen!
Having your vehicle stolen or hijacked is every person’s worst nightmare and trying to get the case registered with the Police can be even worse. So before you go any further have a look at the following tips.
When you arrive at the Police Station your aim is to achieve 4 simple goals:
Minimise time loss:
The unpleasant experience of losing your vehicle can leave you in a state of shock resulting in endless delays. There have even been some cases where the victim cannot remember the make of vehicle they drive. So, prepare yourself in advance. Take a few pictures of your vehicle, clearly indicating make, model and derivative as well as any unique marks – a small dent or scratch, distinctive wheel rims, etc. Do not forget to take a close up picture of the licence disk. Whats App the details to 2 or 3 people that you can trust or store it in a cloud– just in case thieves take off with your mobile phone.
Take a family member or friend with you to assist you with whatever you need at the Police Station. Always remember that it is of utmost importance to report the case, however tedious the process may seem.
Register a case docket:
Ensure your report to the Police is detailed and accurate. It may be a good idea to write this before you arrive at the Police Station.
Ensure Circulated Stolen Vehicle details are correct:
Once the case docket has been registered, the vehicle needs to be circulated to alert law enforcers country wide. Vehicles in South Africa are checked daily on different systems. Circulated correctly the operator automatically is alerted should your vehicle be seen. Remember - circulating the registration number of your vehicle is pointless as vehicle thieves can change the plates within minutes if not seconds!
Once circulated, ask the Police Official for a printout from the circulation system. Check all circulated details - one digit and one letter at a time to ensure all is correct. One mistake can result in a completely different vehicle being flagged and you may lose weeks or even months. The printout will also show a unique circulation number. This piece of paper is important – ensure you keep it in a safe place.
Write down the rank and name of the Official that assisted you and the contact details of the Detective Commander. Include e-mail addresses and the telephone number of the Police Station. The particulars of your investigating officer will not be available at this stage. You will receive a SMS in due course that will give you those details. Important: Call your detective at 07:15 in the morning. That’s the only time you will get hold of him/her. The rest of the day is for meetings, court attendance and investigations.
- If your vehicle is insured, ideally you should have your case number available before you submit a claim. Without a case number, your claim will not be a high priority. Also submit the circulation number mentioned earlier as this will speed up your claim!
- Tracking companies will likewise require your case number before activating the tracking device. Involve them right from the start, because a good tracking company will be worth their weight in gold with support and advice during your ordeal.
- Should your own address or other contact details change, notify Police as a matter of urgency. Thousands of vehicles get forfeited to the state and compacted annually, simply because authorities are not able to get hold of the lawful owner.
Read more on How to Apply for a Police Clearance?