As the year starts, so do the weekly reports of motorcycle theft that take place around this nation. And as COVID lock-downs and curfews are relaxed, you can bet on the fact that thefts are going to increase in the coming months.
And one town that regularly gets mentioned for bike theft is Dullstroom - that sleepy, popular weekend destination for most Gauteng-ers. While it would be unfair to claim that his is the epicentre of bike theft in the region, it is certainly up there with the 'best' when it comes to the ease at which thefts continue to happen. But why is Dullstroom such a popular source of redistributed bikes one may ask? Well, the jury is out, but here are my thoughts on the matter based on local opinion.
There is no doubt that its location is close to the Mozambique border - a ready market for redistributed property, is a factor in the problem, but closer destinations such as Hazyview, Mbombela and even towns along the border don't seem to have the same problem.
There is clear opinion that says the SAPS are involved or complicit in the thefts that take place in Dullstroom. This sleepy village is anything but 'sleepy' by the looks of things, but this probably best describes the SAPS personnel in town. It doesn't take science to recognise that a theft syndicate operates in the village, so how difficult can it be to increase Police visibility - or to transfer every SAPS person to another town and replace them with fresh - and hopefully untainted, committed Police?
The accommodation providers have a large part to play in the problem by not providing and monitoring safe storage and parking facilities for bikers. They are happy to take bikers money (at some eye-watering rates by the way), but when it comes to protecting easily-stolen bikes, they shrug their shoulders. Why the biking community doesn't take their business elsewhere defies logic too.
But having said this, bikers themselves aid and abet the problem by ignoring basic measures to protect their property. In almost all cases, stolen bikes are parked in unprotected and insecure areas in the village and most don't have tracking or theft protection systems fitted. Relying on a disk lock, chain or a tracker that only works when you advise the control room that you bike is missing, is pointless and bikers that rely on these systems deserve to be liberated of their steeds. The 'screaming' disk-lock systems are not as fool-proof as they claim and even these bikes are being lifted.
We have even in past Blog's mentioned the fact that in many cases, bikers fail to even lock their bikes in Dullstroom. And yes, the GS-clan are the most guilty of this basic measure. According to the local CPF, doing their rounds at the various pubs, restaurants and lodgings in Dullstroom shows that many bikes are either unlocked or not protected by even the most basic measures. If you are one of these riders, you obviously have more money than sense and you rely on the fact that the bike is insured. That opens another debate on the greed of the insurance sector - but I digress.
As a recent responder to the Facebook notice of theft noted, you spend so much on your bike - upwards of R200K, yet bikes are being stolen because the owners don't want to spend an additional monthly fee to protect their asset. There is an attitude out there that the Police will protect the streets and ensure that thieves are caught, but as we all know in this country, they are incapable of protecting their own personnel and stations let alone the public. Installing any system that has not been developed for bikes is as pointless, yet the market is flooded with these.
As a bike owner, you have a responsibility to make theft of your bike as difficult and risky to potential thieves. They need to understand that touching your bike could cost them their life and that the risk/reward ratio is just not worth it. If they can move your bike without being detected, they will, and by the time you know it, they're over the border and free - or your bike is in a million parts and your useless tracker unit is lying in the veld. These guys know what to look for, so any visible system is pointless and a waste of money.
Let's stop this plague and get back to enjoying our bikes.
Guardian Angel makes use of the latest and most advanced technology to provide a secure and pre-emptive theft prevention solution. It alerts you the moment your bike is tampered with, and in the event that it is moved without the ignition being switched-on, our 24/7 control room alerts the SAPS, local security companies and our bespoke recovery teams to intercept and recover your property before the thieves even realise they have a tracked bike. Our team will know when your bike is being moved before you can, and that makes all the difference when ensuring that thieves and syndicates are caught and prosecuted.