With the holiday season already upon us, the South African Police Service (SAPS) would, once again, remind people from wherever in the country they are, to remain vigilant. The SAPS further calls on people to be aware of their surroundings at all times in order to avoid becoming victims of crime, which, unfortunately, tend to spike during this time of the year.
History has shown us that during the festive period people tend to be complacent and at times oblivious about their surroundings resulting in them becoming victims of crime.
Having launched the Safer Festive Season Operation the SAPS, together with other law enforcement officers in South Africa, will be working hard and smart throughout the festive period to ensure that people in South Africa are and feel safe. However, police cannot be in all places at the same time. Therefore, we want to urge people to take cognisances of some of the safety tips that can help prevent them from becoming a statistic.
- Shop during daylight hours if it is possible. If you must shop at night, ensure that a friend or family member accompanies you.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewellery.
- Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
- Always carry your driver’s license or identification card along with the necessary cash, cheques and/or a credit card at all times.
- Even though you are in a rush and thinking about a thousand things, be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Pay for purchases with a cheque or credit card, if it is possible.
- Keep cash in your front pocket.
- Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Be extra careful if you carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
When you are at home:
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
- Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
- Leave a radio or television on so that the house looks and sounds occupied.
- Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
When there are strangers at your door:
- Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as courier services who are delivering gifts.
- It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes even though no charity is involved.
- Ask them to produce identification and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate. Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
Keeping children safe:
- If it is at all possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
- Teach your child to go to a shop clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
- Teach children to stay close to you at all times while you are shopping.
- Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
- Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
- Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.