Self-driven hire cars are among the rising targets for car theft syndicates that have stolen hundreds of cars from Kenya. Reports indicate that International theft rings operating in Kenya and Tanzania are now, on average, smuggling about 10 vehicles a day from Kenya's major cities and towns to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Malawi via Tanzania and Uganda.
Some models of cars with versatile parts can generate more funds than the car itself is worth. Many car owners look for insurance to mitigate the effects of theft by replacing the stolen car, but the easiest way to prevent theft is by using tracking devices.
When a car with a tracker has been stolen, it can be located using a location manager, which is installed in the vehicle to collect and transmit tracking data via a cellular or satellite network. The device, through a hosted application, can access the Web at any time to give real-time vehicle tracking updates, including location, direction, speed, idle time, start/stop and more. This allows, fleet managers for instance, to manage a tighter schedule and more efficient fleet.
For this reason, the surge in vehicle theft has led to a take-off in companies specialising in vehicle tracking services, including firms such as Mtrack Kenya, Stoic Satelite, Birdseye Trackers, Leighton Tracking, and Track and Trace. Mobile phone tracking has also helped reduce car theft. But the latest moves to ease the security risk is coming through security companies adding tracking services to their full set of combined security services.
Typical is Warrior Security, which has recently launched a new tracking system that not only provides routing information but also provides car movement records to fleet managers.
"The advantage of tracking solutions is it frees up internal resources to focus on core business, reduce running costs, maximise productivity, increase control and security and is scalable to meet future needs," said Emmanuel Lobaya, Operations Manager, Warrior Security.
"The units we use are Skyline vehicle management system by Enigma Telematics from the UK, and can also be tied into alarms and our control rooms for our clients,” says Lobaya.
Warrior's far reaching experience in the security field such as location and tracking solutions offers clients an effective alternative to current suppliers. "Over the years we have provided Bureau service upon request, whereby our control room will monitor client assets and report on activities such as illegal movement, over speeding, and excessive fuel consumption,” says Lobaya. Skyline is delivered with full UK and Tanzania based technical support which installs and maintains the units.
Enigma Telematics, an ISO 9001 Registered company, which has been in business since 1991 is based in the UK, and has had a growing presence in the Middle East with partners in Europe, South and Central America and Africa. The company has extensive experience in plant security as well, and of course tracking for management purposes or stolen vehicle recovery. An example of its management capabilities, Kenya Airways, increased the number of fleet vehicles being monitored using the Skyline 7.0 GPS advanced system. With software and tracking units, Kenya Airways is able to identify in real time the drivers and vehicles, and create historic information for management purposes. For example they realised many ground vehicles were left idling for long periods of time, burning precious fuel. So with this information were able to put procedures in place and have greatly reduced their fuel bill.
For Warrior, the tracking system is already proving invaluable in escorting convoys. For example, they escort convoys from Tunduma, on the Tanzanian border with Zambia, to Dar es Salaam. Although the escorts are overseen by Field Officers who organize personnel and resources, the 24/7 tracking operation and control room allows Warrior to closely monitor every convoy's progress, and react swiftly to any issues that may occur en-route.
"All of Warrior's key security personnel and vehicles are monitored using Skyline 7.0 web tracking interface. In the case of an incident, the rapid response teams and vehicles provides a valuable method of confirmation, monitoring and after action review," said Lobaya.
These reports and records can be used to collaborate against rapid response teams and other witness accounts. It is a good tool to use in conjunction with other witnesses or information, confirming real times and locations of incidents.
Most of Warrior Skyline's tracking systems operate mainly through GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) reporting, but satellite solutions are also available. Personal trackers also have an SOS function that immediately triggers assistance.
Indeed vehicle tracking systems not only help to reduce theft of vehicles, but helps companies manage their fleet, reduce costs, improve safety, and gathers valuable information leading to speedy efficient and secure services.