Personal security

Small personal safety habits can keep you safe

Recently released police crime statistics paint a very chilling picture. When Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed parliament, he read a list of figures showing that several categories of violent crime had risen dramatically.
Cele released crime statistics from January to March 2022.

“We have a big crime problem, but there are small things you and I can do to make a difference. It can help everyone be a little safer than they were yesterday,” says Charnel Hattingh, communications and marketing manager at Fidelity ADT.

It starts with awareness and vigilance, she adds.

“In our experience, most crimes are opportunistic in nature. Criminals look for quick and easy opportunities and are attracted to soft targets.

“When you’re on the go, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. Avoid distractions like running or walking with headphones in your ears. Be careful if someone is following you,” Hattingh says.

This alertness and awareness can also help when something is wrong.

“If you are a victim of any type of crime, you can help police and security partners by providing as detailed a description of the assailant as possible. What clothes were they wearing, did they speak with an accent, or did you notice any distinctive facial or physical features.

“It’s often helpful to remember what shoes a suspect was wearing, as they tend to throw away their jacket or change their shirt while still wearing the same shoes,” says Hattingh.

The last piece of advice is to get involved and become an active player in your own safety. It, she says, can take any shape, big or small.

“If you have a community or suburban safety initiative such as a neighborhood watch, reach out to them to find out how you can help.

“It can range from becoming a patroller to just making coffee for the volunteers who are on duty on cold winter nights. Perhaps you can offer financial or logistical support.

“If there are no community safety initiatives where you live, you can start one yourself.

“Collect the mobile numbers of everyone on your street and form a WhatsApp or Telegram group where you share security updates with each other. Your local SAPS or armed response company can also give you valuable advice on how to get organized and involved in keeping your suburbs safe,” says Hattingh.

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