The month of September gave South Africans an opportunity to think and reflect on their heritage. Recent events across our country has left most of us deeply worried about the safety of our loved ones. Whereas there is an undeniable responsibility on the police and our criminal justice system to play their part, it is equally up to every one of us to be active participants in the safety of our family and friends.
The time to sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem is over. We all want to leave a better and safer world for our children and for future generations. This is a realistic goal that is achievable, provided that we stand up and get involved.
Awareness and vigilance is the cornerstone of personal safety. No matter where you move, you simply must pay attention to what is happening around you. Opportunistic criminals are on the lookout for people who are distracted and who could prove to be easy targets.
Another crucial step is getting to know your neighbours. People who share our suburb with us are key allies in any plan to be safe. They are often the first ones who will notice if something is wrong on your property. If we have each other’s contact details, we are better able to keep a watchful and caring eye on each other. This means if we see something out of place, we can speak up immediately.
Support for local community organisations shows the value of ‘power in numbers’. There are thousands of examples of hard working and caring men and women around South Africa who have joined hands to look after their fellow residents. Whether this is a formal neighbourhood watch or just a suburb WhatsApp group, it provides for valuable sharing of information and resources which can help keep people safe.
Lastly, talk to your children. It is important that parents and caregivers instil the value and importance of responsible personal safety habits in their children, even from an early age. It can start with basic things such as never opening the door for strangers, learning how to arm and disarm the security system, and how to make contact with the police or with law enforcement in case of any emergency.
We can start today by helping make the world just a little bit safer than it was yesterday. In this way, we can leave a positive legacy for our children.