Motorcycle theft is not exclusively a South African problem and even in countries as developed and well-policed as the United Kingdom and the United States, theft of bikes has reached alarming proportions as the price of even the most modest bike climbs.
But here in South Africa, it is starting to reach epidemic proportions judging by weekly social media posts and the media in general. Yet, in spite of this, the South African Police Service still don't categorise stolen motorcycles in their quarterly theft and crime statistics, leaving no-one really sure of the exact numbers involved while the measures taken to combat this crime-wave remain largely reactive and to a large extent, ineffective.
But, is it the problem of the SAPS or does the problem with motorcycle theft lie even deeper - like say, the owners of bikes? Very few bikes are sold with anti-theft measures - other than for the relatively simple steering lock or identification tag such as Data-Dot. Yet bikers remain hesitant - even oblivious to the value of installing anti-theft systems on their bikes. This is largely as a result of the manufacturers (BMW is a good example) holding clients to their warranty clause that prevents the addition of any device that interferes with the harness or CPU of the bike. Some American brands take the initiative to install alarms and ignition locks, and these bikes are considered low-risk by insurers, but they are a small minority of bikes sold in this country.
So, rather than protect their property, bikers generally rely on the '..it's insured..' defence to protect their bikes. I don't know about you, but my bike is a very personal piece of property. Unlike my car - which is a necessary item to get from A to B, my bike is a passion - a very personal purchase that gives me endless enjoyment and pleasure. Take my car - that's insured and replaceable, but not the bike. Well, that's my feeling, but too many bikers fail to understand this concept and perhaps they don't deserve to own a motorcycle in the first place (or they have too much money?). Another fallacy is the attitude'..well, if it's stolen I don't want it back..'. Did you know, that the majority of bikes that are stolen are wheeled to the nearest open ground and left there to test the recovery services, before finally being moved and either chopped or resold outside of the country? You could get it back totally unscathed if you tried.!
As bikers, we need to own the problem - and take every possible measure to protect our property - even if its insured. By this I mean installing a pro-active detection and tracking system and not simply a GPS locator or wailing siren that won't be heard at more than ten paces from the bike. Get real! Unlike systems of the past - and some off-the-shelf solutions sold by accessory shops and snake-oil salesmen, the latest generation anti-theft solutions avoid going anywhere near the wiring of the bike, thereby avoiding the 'warranty' threat by manufacturers. For a relatively small initial outlay - and sometimes a monthly subscription, you could fully protect your bike against thieves and tampering - before the bike is even moved! And if it is moved, it allows the Police to track and recover the bike and hopefully, arrest the scumbag that took it.
The number of bikers that still believe in a chain through the back wheel - or a lock on the disk to thwart thieves is astounding. Even a screaming alarm is relatively simple to overcome by a determined thief and as we have seen from video footage and experience, even chaining the bike to the floor behind vehicles doesn't stop it being lifted over and out of a garage! Believe it or not, there are still those that believe in the sanctity of their property behind a wall or security gate (and probably Father Christmas too). What you need is an early-warning system that let's you know that someone is tampering with your bike - and automatically alerts the closest security and Police to track and recover the bike. Even better, this type of system gives the Police a better than average chance to arrest the thieves and to break the syndicates that obviously exist.
If you own a bike, it's up to you to become part of the solution instead of relying on your insurer to carry the load by increasing the cover on all other bikes. Install an effective, pro-active theft-deterrent and tracking system and let's stop the scourge of motorcycle theft.
About Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel is the first locally-developed, pro-active motorcycle theft deterrent, tracking and emergency response system for motorcyclists. The technology that we have developed automatically let's you know if your bike is tampered with or moved, and it tracks the bike anywhere in southern Africa in the event of theft. Unlike other tracking products that rely on you to alert the security company that the bike has been stolen before initiating a tracking and recovery service, Guardian Angel does this automatically and let's you know when your bike has been moved. Our 24/7 emergency control room is connected at the highest levels within the SAPS and with almost every private sector security response company to ensure your bike is recovered in the shortest possible time.