Photo by Ben Williams on Unsplash

Freedom they say, is that really what you feel when you sit behind your high walls and tight security systems installed on your property?

In South Africa, we feel that sense of fear as we exit our properties on our way to work or only to go to the shop for milk. There are ways to prevent that, everyone has to deal with the current crime rate and unrest in our communities.

Here are five tips we put together to help make you aware of what might be waiting for around the corner when you go to work or the shop. Think about you and your family’s safety before they leave your property.

1.      Check Your Surroundings

With our busy lives we tend to forget basic safety and security tasks, have you made sure the alarm is activated before you left your driveway on the way to work?

It’s easy to get into a routine and ‘think’ everything has been done accordingly. Something as simple as speeding out of your driveway and waiting for the gate to close, with a bad habit, you check your cell phone as you wait and you haven’t closed your car’s window. Suddenly a gun is pointed at your head through the open void of your door, what will be your actions?

You can avoid this by only checking your surroundings and making sure your car is locked and you are paying attention to the task at hand. Check your cell phone before you leave your home, get all the small habits eliminated before you go out into the open.

2.      Report Suspicion

When paying attention to your surroundings you may realize certain objects or people that don’t belong out in the street or close by to your property. The police and other sources like CPF or your security company may warn you of the trending objects or game plans that criminals have in your area.

Always keep a camera at hand and a flashlight for night times, the evidence is important if any conflict has been had. It’s always a good thing to have a panic button or a family member which lives close by on speed dial.

3.      Have Safeguards

Safeguards are not the security guard you wish you had to protect you at all times, you need a backup plan. If you are involved in conflict, hijacking or a robbery then what is your plan?

Everyone has their situations to deal with when in conflict or if they are being burgled, there are ways to plan for such situations. Know what to do when this happens, how will you survive any ordeal?

You don’t necessarily need a gun for safety, basic objects around you may be more effective than many weapons. Watch this YouTube video to help you understand what household items can become self-defence weapons.    

4.      Family Safety

Family is everything, seeing a family member get injured in conflict or even experiencing the death of them is most probably the worst trauma one could have. Keeping your family safe must be a priority in your everyday routine.

Know where your family is, avoid being disconnected with family members. You must have certain rules set in place for when either one leaves the house.

For children, teach them to not go to strangers and have a secret password for when a stranger has to collect them from school or at a friend’s house. There are GPS wristbands available to track a family member throughout the day when apart.

5.      Be Vigilant

As was mentioned above, be aware of your surroundings. Wherever you go throughout the day make sure to be aware of what is going on around you.

Don’t trust strangers straight away, be wary of their actions and comments. Many criminals come forth as friendly well-spoken people, watch your back and don’t let anyone distract you when in a crowd or stopping at the traffic light.

Do you know that annoying dog barking every time strangers walk past their property? Well, that Jack Russell is paying attention to its surroundings. He knows the functioning of the neighbourhood. Be like that Jack Russell, be vigilant.

[Conclusion]

Your life is more important than any object you own; property can be replaced but your life can’t. Take care of yourself and your family, these are harsh times we live in and as just said: “We’re living”.

Don’t be reckless with life, pay attention and get off that phone when standing in the middle of a crowd whilst your child stands vulnerable next to you.

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