By Nico Strydom
Being aware of your personal environment regardless of where you are, is an effective first step to avoid criminals and crime.
“In most cases there is an element of opportunism around criminals. One should therefore be observant so as not to look like a soft or easy target,” says Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing with the security company Fidelity ADT.
According to Hattingh one should at all times be aware of your environment, also when you drive to work, go shopping, and even when you relax.
“It doesn’t matter where you go, you must still be on the lookout to, for instance, make sure that nobody is following you. Instead of being busy on your telephone when you go for a walk, it is important to keep your head up so that you can observe everything going on around you.”
It is also important to trust your instincts. If a certain area or situation makes you feel uncomfortable, it would be better to be careful. “Avoid dark streets or areas and rather choose public spaces where there are many people.”
Another important step is to make sure that you have the contact information of your closest police station or security company at hand. “Contact them if you notice anything suspicious, whether it is a suspicious person in your residential area or any worrying scenario,” says Hattingh.
Make sure that somebody else knows where you are at all times and how long it is going to take when, for instance, you have an appointment so that they can raise the alarm if they cannot get hold of you later or if you stay away too long.
It could also help if you change your daily routine because it could make your movements unpredictable and can prevent criminals from using it for the wrong purposes. Try to not be alone in dangerous areas and rather move around in a group as this would make you less vulnerable.
Try to have different plans ready for when perhaps you become the victim of a crime. Think about how you would act, what you could do to try and stay safe, how you could defend yourself, how you could get help and what you should do afterwards.
The most important thing is to be aware of your environment at all times so that you can see when you are in danger and have enough time to try and act.
Fidelity ADT: https://www.adt.co.za/press-office
SAPD: https://www.saps.gov.za/alert/safety_awareness_home.php en https://www.saps.gov.za/alert/personal_safety_tips.php