Dealing with vehicle theft in your Latam fleet
Vehicle theft can be a costly and dangerous problem in Latin America so make sure you implement the appropriate safety measures in your fleet operations.
While theft most commonly occurs without the victim present, meaning stealing a vehicle while it is parked, keep in mind that car-jacking and truck-jacking could occur.
While car theft is a big problem in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, the more dangerous act of robbing a car while the victim is present (commonly at gunpoint) or to say carjacking is something to watch out for in Brazil and Mexico.
In Brazil, more than 100,000 such incidents occur per year, mostly in large cities like Sao Paulo, so fleet operators and drivers, prepare yourselves accordingly.
Keep in Mind
- Expensive vehicles are not always the target as thieves also look for best-selling car models owing to better parts resale value.
- Many victims are drivers of mobile app ride hailing companies or delivery personnel.
- Note that robbers may be targeting your cargo and not the vehicle itself.
- Crimes are commonly committed by pairs on motorcycles for easy getaway.
What to Do
- Make sure to get full-coverage insurance for your vehicle as well as cargo insurance for delivery personnel. (average cost is 5% of vehicle value).
- However, if it is essential to cut costs, you could focus less on insurance and more on telematics and vehicle tracking.
- Don't get caught driving in unfamiliar territory and take the necessary precautionary measures.
- Plan your routes appropriately and that means knowing the city you are operating in.
- Avoid high risk roads and night deliveries and be careful at stoplights in dark and isolated neighborhoods.
- Offer driver awareness courses in your fleet operations.
- Do research and buy vehicle models that are less targeted by thieves.
- Note that high-profile executives and their families could be a target of kidnappings.
- The standard armor involves protecting occupants from caliber 22, 38, 44, 357, and even 9mm shots.
- Protection is usually measured in ballistic ratings (BR) from B4 to B7 with the latter being the top rating.
- Armoring your car is an option but it will cost you time and money, as well as a bit of bureaucracy.
- Besides the initial cost of armoring your car, you will face higher gas expense owing to the extra weight.
- Despite these burdens, do keep in mind that assuring your drivers’ safety is of utmost importance as you cannot put a price on life.
Image: carjacker (copyright: Shutterstock 675258124)