Tips for Staying Safe in South Africa this Festive Season
As part of our festive season newsletter edition, Intouch Relocations would like to wish our clients a safe and joyous holiday season.
Certain types of crimes appear to be on the rise over the festive season. These include contact crimes such as robberies, burglaries and hijacking. Criminals appear to be targeting shopping malls, and in response, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has increased its police presence significantly in identified crime “hot-spots”. Criminals are also targeting high value items such as Rolex watches and diamond jewelry.
House break-ins may also spike, as criminals are aware that homes are left vacant while families travel over this period.
Due to the increased traffic on the national highways, road safety is also a paramount concern at this time of year.
Here are some practical ways that you can keep your family and possessions safe over the holidays”
While doing your holiday shopping:
- Keep a close eye on your children in crowded shopping malls. Ensure that you have a meeting point if you get separated and that they know your name and phone number (some parents even write it on their arm with e permanent marker).
- Avoid ostentatious displays of jewelry, watches (Rolex in particular) in public places
- Keep a close eye on your valuables, such as mobile phone, cameras and tablets.
- Keep your handbag closed and tucked under your arm
- When leaving a shopping mall, or after drawing cash (and in-fact, at all times) ensure that you are not being followed by a vehicle. If you think you are being followed, don’t drive home, head to the nearest police station.
- Avoid cyber-crime and credit card fraud by only doing your Christmas shopping at reputable sites. Look out for card skimming machines and treat with suspicion anyone who asks to scan your card a second time
If you are planning on being away from your home for a prolonged period:
- Consider hiring a house sitter to look after your property, garden and pets while you are away
- Check that your alarm system, and backup battery, are in good working order and arm it before leaving
- Notify your private security company that you will be away (you needn’t give them specific dates) and request that they provide increased patrols
- Leave a set of keys with someone you trust who can drop by occasionally to check on things and gain access in case of an emergency
- Lock jewelry and valuables that are remaining behind in a safe.
- Ensure that doors are locked and windows are closed and that valuables are stored in the trunk of the car.
- Allow enough space between the car in front of you when stopped at a light so that you can move around it if need be (you should be able to see the tires of the car in front).
- If you are planning on having more than one drink, use Uber to get to and from your destination
- When approaching your house, make sure that there are no suspicious people or vehicles around, that the area is well lit and that your gate is open before you turn into your driveway. If you are at all concerned, contact your private security company to follow you home or meet you at your gate.
- Drive carefully on long-distance trips. Plan for heavy traffic which may add to your travel time.
- Plan your stops to ensure that you don’t get fatigued or run out of fuel.
- Stick to the speed limits, particularly when approaching towns.
- Avoid driving at night, particularly in rural areas where livestock may wander onto the road.
- Be cautious when overtaking and also look out for other vehicles overtaking dangerously.