It’s that time of the year again where many people will be going on holiday and others will be relaxing at home enjoying the festive season.
At this time, communities become lackadaisical and relaxed forgetting that criminals take this as an opportunity to maximise their criminal activities.
As such, the South African Police Services (SAPS) has beefed up their pro-active measures by introducing the Safer Season Campaign.
The campaign has seen highly visible, multi-disciplinary law enforcement teams deployed to conduct regular vehicle and foot patrols, roadblocks, cordon and search operations and the tracing of wanted suspects.
However, despite these measures, the SAPS have advised communities to follow these safety tips and assist law enforcement agencies.
“The fight against crime is everyone’s responsibility and we appeal to the community to join hands with us and together we can enjoy a crime free and safer festive season,” the SAPS said on Thursday.
The safety tips to follow are:
• House keys should never be left lying around or kept dangling on the outside of doors. They should be kept in a safe place and out of sight.
• Owners to park their vehicles in the garages (if they have one). Even if the vehicle is parked in the garage, make sure that the garage doors and vehicle is locked and that the vehicle’s alarm is activated.
• Take note and be observant of any bushy or vacant area near your house as most of the time, criminals will hide stolen items in the bush and return later to fetch it.
• Never leave valuable items (laptops, cell phones) lying around before retiring for the night.
• Do not ignore the irritating bark of the dogs. Housebreakers will rarely enter through the front door of a house so dogs will alert you to exactly where they are. Phone police immediately if there is any suspicious or unusual activity.
• Do not buy any stolen goods. If you buy stolen goods, more victims will suffer because buying goods obtained in this manner motivates criminals to repeat their actions. Receiving stolen goods is punishable by law.
• Reject any goods you suspect could have been stolen and report the matter to the police on Crime Stop 08600 10111.
• Avoid isolated ATMs and using an ATM late at night. Never give your card or pin number to anyone for any reason – not even a bank official, security personnel or a police officer. Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. If you are distracted by someone while you are attempting to make a transaction, cancel your transaction immediately.
• Avoid making huge cash withdrawals or carrying a large amount of money as this draws criminals’ attention to you.
• Those with stockvels or social club groups are urged not to make withdrawals of their savings but rather go inside the bank and request them to help you transfer the beneficiaries’ share to their bank accounts.
• During the holiday season, shopping centres and the CBD will be buzzing with people doing their Christmas shopping. Make sure that your handbag is close to your body and clutched tightly. Never put the wallet in the back pocket of your jeans/pants.
• Conceal your Cellphone when you are in a public place and do not get tricked into lending your Cellphone to someone to make a call.
• Be alert for con-artists and scams. Be careful when buying goods from the internet, always make sure the websites are the real deal as advertised.
• Parents need to know the whereabouts of their children at all times.
• Do not leave children unattended. Always make sure when they are at the malls or shopping centres, they have adult supervision. Remember that if a child is missing, there is NO waiting period to report that person as missing. Time is of the essence so it should be done immediately.
• Parents please NEVER let your children swim in the pool/dams or rivers alone and unsupervised.
• Children who cannot swim should never be allowed in the water. An appeal is made to adults not to enter the water whilst under the influence of alcohol.
• Ensure that your vehicle is always in running condition with good tyres (including a spare wheel) and has enough fuel for your planned trip. Know your destination and the directions to it and be alert if you get lost. Never, ever pick up hitchhikers as most criminals pose as hitchhikers only to hijack, rob and/or even hurt or kill you.
• Police has warned people, especially women, not to hitchhike as this can be very dangerous. You do not know the person giving you a lift and by accepting a lift you are placing your life in danger.
• Do not speed. Stick to the road speed. Do not text or speak on your cell phone while driving. Stop and rest frequently. Wear safety belts. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Adhere to all the road rules. Do not drink and drive. Do not overload your vehicle. Be an example of good driving. Be alert today and alive tomorrow.