Did you check? Vehicles are being repainted, identification numbers altered and resold to new owners with documentation to support the sale and licensing. A twelve year old child would recognize that it took the complicity of a number of individuals in authority to make that possible. Now it seems as though the fox is guarding the chicken coop again. Hopefully, one day we will hear results of that case when it comes up in court.

Look, the point here is that the slick looking, fully equipped, top of the line vehicle you are driving can disappear instantly; seemingly completely off the face of this earth. Years ago, stealing a vehicle meant the thief had to seize an unguarded opportunity to pounce on it, gain entry, quickly hot wire it and drive away. Today things are different.

The automobile represents the second biggest investment in the life of most Trinidadians, the first being a house. Unlike a house, its moveable which makes it a magnet for car thieves and the people willing to break the law for a cut of the lucrative automobile market. The common car thief exists on the lowest rung of the food chain in this illicit spinoff industry. In desperation, fuel by drugs or the need for quick cash, he operates differently from his predecessors. He is bold, usually violent and not averse to killing. Force is the order of the day.

People become really submissive when they look down the barrel of a powerful hand gun. They cooperate, they do whatever it takes to remove the threat including giving up the keys to their car or anything else demanded. For the modern day car thieve (car jackers) this is ideal. The work is easier, no difficult break ins or trouble hot wiring.

All he need is a hand gun, a threat and a quick drive directly to a car fence where ready cash is waiting. For a couple of hours work the thieve walks away with a couple of thousand dollars. The real work begins on changing the appearance of the vehicle and creating the required documentation. What is the answer to the modern day car thief?

There is really no answer. The fact is a gun can kill you instantly and complying could save your life or serious injury. Best advice is to surrender your vehicle. That point is NOT the time to think of what you could have done. If you did not take advantage of the technology available to locate your vehicle instantly, you can consider it lost.

This issue was addressed In an article published in 2002 by Bernard K. Aquing, Chartered Insurer and Consultant to the Association of Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Companies (ATTIC). According to him ?Car stealing alone accounts for at least $72 million in economic waste that the country could do without.? The sad part is that it all can be prevented, not by the police but by automobile owners being more proactive and equipping their vehicles with GPS tracking equipment so that they can at least retrieve the vehicle as soon as possible. Mr. Aquing also said..

?The only real and effective strategy is the installation of the vehicle tracking system which has a relatively high up-front cost in addition to the annual continuing payment for the service. Naturally, this tracking system will cost many times over the cost of the car alarm which is a one- time charge and it is for this reason that car owners find it more attractive to install alarms.?

Things have changed since that article was written and now GPS trackers are more affordable. If any one of the seventy vehicles recovered at the Licensing Office was equipped with a GPS tracker they would not be there. GPS trackers are not the answer to the new trend in crime but it does even the odds a little. Learn more about GPS trackers in T&T.

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27 Dec 2016

By Tony Puckerin