Car owners can take steps to help protect the fuel inside their vehicles’ tanks. It follows several incidents that have been reported across South Africa in recent weeks, involving attempts to steal fuel by drilling into a petrol tank or siphoning it out of the tank.
“The price of petrol has now jumped to a level never seen before in South Africa. Fuel has become a very valuable commodity and unscrupulous characters will seemingly leave no stone unturned to steal someone else’s petrol,” says Wahl Bartmann, CEO of the Fidelity Services Group.
Drivers and car owners can make basic changes to their behaviour to try and limit the chance of their cars falling victim to this news trend.
“If you are fortunate enough to have access to your own off-street or secure parking you should always make use of it and the protection it offers. Putting your car out of sight or behind a locked door can make it less attractive to any would-be fuel thief. Make sure please that your garage has an alarm that picks up unauthorised movement and test the gates and locks,” says Bartmann.
Not everyone has access to their own secure parking though.
“In cases where you park in the street or a public garage, try and park as close to an area where there is lighting and regular foot traffic. If you use the street, we suggest you try and park as close to your home as possible. You can also park in such a way that your fuel cap is pointed into the street and not hidden from view. We also advise against leaving your car standing in one spot for an extended period. Please never leave valuable items in a parked car.”
Bartmann says motorists should also speak to their armed response company to see what protective measures they can recommend. Vehicle tracking systems such as Fidelity’s Secure Drive can alert you to any unauthorised vehicle movement caused for example when someone tampers with your fuel tank.
Vigilance and alertness, he adds, remain important in any effort to combat crime.
“If you see anyone loitering around parked cars in your street, please alert your security company or the police. We can make an enormous difference to the crime situation in South Africa by paying attention to what happens around us and speaking up when anything seems out of place.”