Crime affects all sectors of South African society, but it is the fear of this crime that is being felt much more by women. Stats SA explains that women felt more unsafe than men walking in their neighbourhoods alone both during the day and when it is dark. [http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-03-40-05/Report-03-40-05June2018.pdf]
This feeling of fear can be addressed to some extent by exercising basic safety principals and by being vigilant. Women’s Month is the perfect time to remind women of all ages of the following valuable safety tips:
- Before leaving home, ensure a loved one or friend knows where you are going. If someone knows your whereabouts when visiting a friend or going shopping, they can check up on you to ensure you have arrived home safely. If anything occurs, these friends will know where to find you or where to start looking.
- If you are at a shopping mall, ATM or bank, remain alert of any suspicious individuals. Avoid dark and deserted ATMs, especially late at night.
- When driving, remember to ensure your doors are locked and to remain vigilant, especially when stopping at traffic lights.
- Many people suggest placing your mobile phone in the boot (with your handbag). But if any incident occurs, there usually is not enough time to retrieve this from the boot. Rather, keep your phone close to you but out of sight. If it is not an emergency call or text message, try not to answer until you have safely arrived at your destination. Avoid anything that distracts your attention from the road.
- When arriving home, be on the lookout for any suspicious vehicles or people that might be lurking around your gate or front-door. If you feel unsafe, rather circle the block again. Most security companies offer a home arrival service, where an armed response officer can meet you at your front door to make sure you are safe.
In an emergency:
- Keep the relevant emergency numbers on pre-programmed on your mobile phone. Having these numbers on speed dial makes it easier for you, especially when you are in a state of shock.
Contact your local Fidelity ADT branch to find out more around mobile panic button services as well as security apps which can be downloaded onto your phone. If you find yourself in an emergency, your phone will serve as a beacon to locate you as soon as possible.