SAPS endorses microdots tech


The South African Police Service (SAPS) has endorsed microdots technology after revealing that the technology will have to be present on all vehicles registered for the first time in SA on or after 1 January 2011.

This emerged last week after Microdot SA, in collaboration with the Community Police Forums, unveiled the technology, which it says will mitigate the levels of criminality experienced in a community and to deter crimes, especially vehicle theft.

However, the Minister of Transport is still to publish regulations in terms of the National Road Traffic Act to make this a requirement, ITWeb reports.

According to Microdot SA, the technology is highly effective as an additional vehicle identifier by marking the vehicle and its parts in multiple places with a unique identification number that will make it easier to identify vehicles from which the primary and secondary identifiers have been removed.
“The technology involves the application of between 10 000 and 15 000 1mm x 1mm dots to various parts of the vehicle. These dots are applied using an ultraviolet adhesive and contain a microscopic 17-digit laser-etched VIN or PIN to identify the vehicle and, in turn, its owner.
“This number is only visible through a magnifying lens and must also be under an ultraviolet light,” the company said in a statement.

It adds, in the case of new vehicles, the microdots are applied during the manufacturing process and registered with e-Natis.

The company explains that vehicle crime reduction organisations in several countries have assessed many available options and solutions to the vehicle identity problem, spreading the net both locally and internationally, and have evaluated these relative to the needs of the local environment.

Microdot technology has emerged as being the leader in securing the identity of the vehicle, it claims.
“The contents of each unit has a unique code, which the owner registers under his or her name on a national databases so that if an item is stolen, it can be identified and returned”, Microdot SA says.

Microdot technology, it adds, could go a long way in clamping down on the sale of stolen property if the laws and relevant penalties are applied in cases of prosecution, as the goods could be checked and the legal owners identified.

The company also explains that the microdots used to mark vehicles will have to comply with SANS 534-1, which is SA’s new ‘microdotting’ standard.
“Traditionally, a vehicle is identified through its VIN and/or chassis number. However, given the illicit market for stolen vehicles and parts, this number is often easily filed off and changed. This allows stolen or hijacked vehicles to be re-licensed under a new identity, or for the parts to be sold, or for the vehicle to be exported.
“Currently, roughly 50% of stolen and hijacked vehicles are re-licensed in the country, ending up back on the country’s roads, 30% are sold for parts, and 20% are exported to neighbouring countries”, notes Microdot South Africa.

It adds that in SA, about 90 000 vehicles to the value of more than R9 billion are stolen each year, noting that, however, more than 12 000 recovered but unidentified vehicles, worth more than R1 billion, are destroyed annually by SAPS.

A study done by Business Against Crime SA on a number of fully microdotted models found that the recovery rate for these models was 91%, against a rate of only 52% of non-microdotted models within the same class.