Life is slowly returning to “normal” under Level 3 of the national lockdown, with children starting to head back to school and many more people to work. While this is a positive move in Youth Month, the sad reality of the lifting of lockdown restrictions is that criminals are also back to their routine.
Fidelity ADT statistics indicate a definite increase in crime compared to incidents recorded in Level 4 and 5 of the lockdown. Criminals had little place to hide as their presence on otherwise empty streets was highly visible and a lot more law enforcement and security patrols were being done.
Areas around schools can be ripe pickings for opportunistic criminals. Children walking with their cellphones visible are particularly vulnerable, and incidents continue where learners are either held up with a weapon or conned into handing their phones over to a stranger.
Other incidents common around schools are hijackings of parents waiting to collect children, armed robberies and vehicle thefts. Many of these crimes are avoidable if children and parents remain vigilant. Criminals rely on the fact that parents are oftentimes preoccupied when dropping off or collecting children from school. Everyone is absorbed in their own worlds, seldom noticing what is going on around them. This is the downside of routine and the humdrum of daily life.
Please exercise vigilance and keep security top of mind from home to school, to work, at the mall and anywhere else your daily tasks take you. Why? Because these are some of the scenarios which could happen in the blink of an eye:
1. You are hijacked in the driveway.
2. Armed robbers pull you out of the car and force you back into the house.
3. Your cellphone is grabbed out of your hand.
4. You are robbed at gunpoint of your valuables.
All of the above are frightening and real scenarios in South Africa. While it is bad enough to be hijacked in your own driveway, you definitely do not want to give criminals the opportunity to get onto your property and into your house. This is where things can go very wrong very quickly.
Use these 5 security tips when leaving home:
1. Keep the garden beams armed until everyone is ready to leave home.
2. Check up and down the street before opening the gate. If you see someone suspicious or a strange car parked nearby, phone your security company to come and escort you out of the driveway safely and investigate.
3. Wait until the gate is properly closed before pulling off.
4. Keep doors locked and windows up while driving.
5. Stay off your cellphone and keep the radio at a reasonable volume. It is advisable to turn the radio off when approaching home so that you can focus on your surroundings.
People should be aware of varying the things they have to do each day, by taking alternate routes or varying times of the day things get done.