Lockdown, and its devastating effect on our economy, has shot South Africa’s unemployment rate through the roof, which means that people are getting desperate and resorting to dangerous and criminal measures to make ends meet. Barker cares for you and your loved ones and would like to remind you that personal vigilance is key to avoid falling victim to such criminal activity.
Follow these precautions for your personal safety, and where you can, please educate others in doing so, too.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Of the 17 categories of community reported crimes, cases of carjacking have seen the largest increase year-on-year, with the SAPS reporting 18,162 cases over the 2019/20 period. This equates to 50 vehicles being stolen in South Africa every day. Remember to:
- Avoid getting lost and becoming an easy target by using a reliable GPS.
- Always notify someone at your destination about your estimated time of arrival.
- Avoid distractions, such as checking or talking on your cell phone, when walking to or from your car.
- Avoid distractions while driving such as using your cell phone or listening to loud music.
- Ensure all vehicle doors are locked and roll up your windows.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Install smash-and-grab window protection if possible.
- When driving up to a traffic light, slow down in such a way that the light is green by the time you reach it, especially late at night. This will prevent you coming to a complete stop and reduce your risk of becoming a target.
- Always park in a safe, well-lit area.
- Have your car keys out and ready as you approach your car so you’re not vulnerably fumbling around, looking for them in your bag or pockets.
- Check the back seat before getting into the car, even if you left it locked.
- Be vigilant at all times, and report any suspicious behaviour to the SAPS and your local Security Service Provider.
- Always ensure your car is securely locked before walking away from it, get into the habit of physically testing the door handle. Lock-jamming is still a common occurrence.
- Take note that criminals use various tactics to force drivers to stop on the side of the road before attacking and robbing them. If your windscreen or tyre is damaged while driving, drive to the nearest police or petrol station before stopping to inspect the damage. If that is not possible and an emergency stop is required, pull over and exercise caution. Avoid exiting your car and call the police or roadside assistance for help.
- Avoid stopping for anyone that may appear in need of help. Rather contact Law Enforcement, the SAPS or a Security Company to assist in their professional capacity.
- Shake up your daily schedules and routes so criminals cannot predictably monitor your routines, making you easy game.
- Remember that within the vehicle crime market, demand for certain vehicle makes and models change all the time so any vehicle can become a target at any point in time.
- Be extra vigilant 1km from your destination, ensuring that you are not being followed.
- Drive defensively to avoid hijackings. South Africa has one of the highest hijacking figures in the world – it is estimated that a motor vehicle is hijacked every 40 to 54 minutes. Park parallel to your home, opening the gate prior to driving into the driveway. Parking in your driveway while opening your gate might get you boxed in.
- Avoid isolated, unfamiliar, or high-crime areas.
- Always allow some distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you when you have come to a stop so that you can quickly pull away if necessary.
- Ensure that your vehicle is well maintained and roadworthy.
OUT AND ABOUT
- The second largest increase in community reported crimes over the 2019/2020 period was robberies at non-residential premises – up 3.3%.
- Keep valuables out of sight from prying eyes.
- Have your handbag securely attached to your person so it can’t be ripped away and stolen when your guard is down.
- When catching an Uber, always ensure the vehicle model, colour and registration number correspond with the information displayed on the Uber app. Always ask the driver’s name and ensure it also corresponds accordingly.
- Do not carry large sums of money.
- When withdrawing money from an ATM, ensure nobody is standing too close to you and ensure you pin code is hidden. Avoid flashing the newly drawn cash and be vigilant of any suspicious people watching you.
- Avoid temptation: Don’t wear expensive jewellery, or obviously display valuable items such as cameras or cell phones when out in public.
- Avoid carrying your ID or passport with you. Rather opt to carry a photocopy of the front page.
THE HOME INVASION:
- Install an electric fence on the perimeter of your property, and an alarm system with sensors to warn you of potential intruders.
- Draw the curtains at night to avoid perpetrators monitoring your movements.
- Use automatic gates that don’t require you getting out of your car to open them, as this makes you vulnerable to criminals.
- Watch for any suspicious vehicles or individuals when entering your property.
- Try to change up your day-to-day routine so criminals cannot predict when you’ll be home.
- Don’t tempt criminals by leaving things such as lawnmowers and vehicles outside for extended periods of time.
- Cut away tree branches and remove objects such as ladders that could be used as leverage for getting onto the property.
- Notify your security company when you won’t be at home for extended periods of time.
IF SOMEONE TRIES TO ROB YOU:
- Try to remain calm.
- Don’t resist. Your life is far more important than any material thing in your possession.
- Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker as accurately as possible. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.