So what can the average person do to feel more equipped? The most important thing is to stay alert. Special Ops 99 has put together some key pointers below.
General Safety Tips:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Stay off your phone and pay attention when driving home. If you notice anything suspicious drive to your local SAPS station or notify your security provider to deploy vehicles to assist you.
- Jewellery: avoid wearing expensive jewellery. There has been a sharp increase in follow-home incidents for rings and watches.
- Jogging: make use of running clubs and avoid running with earphones in. You need to listen for cars or people following you. You can also make use of local initiatives for safe running, such as Free2Run.
- Get involved on your local community security WhatsApp group. If you see something, you need to say something.
- Make use of your “Meet & Greet” service from your security provider. You can request your security service meet you at your gate as you arrive if you feel unsafe for any reason.
- Ensure you regularly test your alarm and panic systems.
- Regularly assess your perimeter security, including your electric fence if applicable.
- Test and arm your external beams when you are at home and away. Crime strikes at all hours, not just at night.
- Ensure you and your loved ones have emergency contact details easily accessible.
- Update any staff on the most recent crime awareness practices. Do not open for anyone unless notified in advance.
- Educate your children on the various risks we are experiencing nationwide.
- Check doors manually to avoid remote jamming.
- Keep valuables out of sight.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Be alert regarding people or vehicles following you.
- Stay off your phone.
- Stay away from strangers. Explain what makes a person a stranger. Noting that even someone with a familiar face is a stranger if you do not know him or her well.
- Stay away from anyone who is following you on foot or in a car. Don't get close to them or answer any questions they ask you.
- Run and scream if someone tries to force you to go somewhere with them or tries to push you into a car.
- Memorise a secret code word. Tell your child not to go with anyone under any circumstances unless that person also knows this code word.
- Adults shouldn't ask children for help. For example, a child shouldn't trust grown-ups who ask kids for directions or for help finding a puppy or kitten. A child who is approached in this way should tell the person “wait here and I'll check with my mom or dad," and then find his or her parents right away.
- If you are lost. If you get lost in a public place, immediately ask someone who works in a well-known shop for help.
- Always ask for permission before going anywhere with anybody. Ask a parent or the grown-up in charge before leaving the yard or play area, or before going into someone's home.
- Do not accept any unplanned offers for a ride—from someone known or unknown.
- Always tell a parent where you are going, how you will get there, who is going with you, and when you will be back. Be home at the agreed-upon time or else find a way to contact home directly.
- Ensure you keep an open channel of communication with your children. They need to be comfortable with communicating everything with you.