It has been a long day, nay, a long week in the office; it’s finally Friday and you simply can’t wait to get out and unwind. A few of the boys in the office are getting together for drinks later in the evening and you decide to join in the party.
At the end of the day, you leave the office, high in spirits (looking to get high on some spirits later), shirt untucked and tie loosened, car keys in hand. You have a little difficulty finding parking outside the club and eventually circle around the back and find an isolated spot there. You get in the club, place the car keys on the table and while the night away.
Fast-forward to 3 am and it’s time to leave. Fortunately, it’s not your turn to be the designated driver this time. However, on reaching the back of the club where you’d parked, something is amiss. Your Toyota Mark X is missing. You sober up pretty quickly and you go from shock to panic to despair faster than your car could get from 0-100 kph as you realise your car has been stolen…
This is a scenario that could happen to the best of us. A recent report by the Association of Kenya Insurers indicated that the number of vehicles reported stolen rose from 1,111 in 2015 to 1,355 in 2016, representing a 22% increase. Vehicle theft syndicates reportedly prefer to steal cars valued at below Ksh1 million and later strip these down for spare parts. However, there are measures that you can take to secure your ride.
According to John Ogutu, our Senior Operations Manager, securing your car begins from deciding where to park.
“You should prefer to park in well-lit areas as opposed to isolated parking which affords thugs the cover they need. The country has been adopting security technology such as CCTV surveillance in major towns such as Nairobi and Mombasa as well and you can look out for this when parking your car,” Mr. Ogutu said.
“As you alight from your car you should also be fully aware of your surroundings,” Mr. Ogutu went on.
“Look out for idlers or individuals hanging around the parking bay. This might put off an amateur as they know you’ve got a good look at them.”
Car owners are also encouraged not to leave their windows open as they leave the car. Drivers in hot and humid parts of the country such as the Coast and in Western Kenya especially sometimes leave their windows open just a crack to let in air while they are away, but this is not good practice as far as security is concerned.
Mr. Ogutu also discussed the essence of adopting technological measures to safeguard their vehicles, mentioning ignition and fuel-immobilizers and vehicle tracking solutions in particular as effective means of theft prevention and asset recovery.
“We normally advise our clients to invest in vehicle-tracking as it greatly enhances our chances when it comes to asset recovery, should they need it. We have solutions that are capable of anything from the basic GPS tracking to more complex functions like fuel consumption monitoring, eco-driving, route deviation and other fleet management solutions.”
“Aside from giving a vehicle owner accurate location updates in real-time, it also allows the owner to set up a geofence. Think of this as a virtual fence based on geographic location. If the vehicle goes beyond the geofence setup, the system automatically sends an alert to a set of pre-determined emergency contacts.”
According to Mr. Ogutu, choosing a service provider who can also provide emergency response services would be best as this speeds up recovery should a car be stolen.
“Vehicle owners should not only look at being able to know where their car is but how to get it back within the shortest time possible should it be stolen. With a fleet of over 30 emergency response vehicles in Nairobi for instance, we are well-placed to provide this service.”
He also had a word for business owners with regards to investing in vehicle tracking to manage their large fleets.
“Advanced vehicle tracking solutions allow one to do more than just track their cars. One can keep an eye on fuel consumption for instance. They could also use information on engine performance to determine efficient routes from point A to B, then set up a route deviation alert which would let them know when the vehicle takes unauthorized routes. This, of course, would help with security and just keeping track of your drivers’ movements. In the end, vehicle-tracking saves a company money,” Mr. Ogutu concluded.