The guide stresses the need to realize that crime can impact anyone. It strongly advocates for proactive measures to safeguard properties, businesses, and individuals. In emergencies, it advises calling 10111 for quicker response times, rather than relying on local services. The guide also offers condensed safety tips, recognising they may not cover all scenarios, but still considers them beneficial for general safety.
SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT PROPERTY CRIME
- Ensure that your property can be secured properly. This includes checking all locks, gates, doors, windows and roller shutters.
- Ensure there are no gaps in your fence or perimeter wall or unintentional points of access to your home which may need additional security.
- Make sure that all bushes or trees close to your walls, gates and fences are trimmed, to avoid the possibility of intruders hiding behind them or using them to access your property.
- Adequate lighting around the perimeter of your house acts as a good deterrent
- Connecting outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors act as an additional deterrent.
- Have an alarm installed by a reputable security company with armed response.
- The key to effective security lies in being able to detect a potential intruder before they gain access. Adding detection beams and sensors of electrical fences vastly contributes to property security
- Ensure that your alarm is in working order. Business and property owners should test their alarms at least once a month and should the system require servicing this should be arranged as early as possible.
- Please ensure that all the key holder information is available and ensure that key holders are available and able to come out to the property should the alarm activate, and checking be required.
- Don’t leave ladders, spades or tools outside as these can be excellent break-in tools.
- Ensure that remote controls for automatic gates and garage doors are not left lying around.
- Always be alert to vehicles or persons following you into your entrance or the parking area.
- If people arrive to read electricity or water meters on your property, insist on seeing official identification and if possible, follow up with the relevant department before you allow them in.
- Be aware that people may present themselves with a ruse that they are doing collections for various ‘charities’ – this is almost guaranteed to be a scam.
BUSINESS AND RETAIL SECURITY
- Keep a list of emergency numbers next to the telephone.
- Place static panic buttons in strategic areas of your store, e.g. in the cash office or storeroom.
- Keep the premises well-illuminated, both inside and out.
- Be Observant! Employees and employers should remain alert and observant. Things to watch for:
- Suspicious persons or vehicles around the business, especially at opening and closing time.
- People wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather, such as heavy coats during warm weather.
- Take special precautionary measures at the opening and closing items. Ensure that two or more staff members are present when the premises are being locked or unlocked.
- Try to use the most visible entrance to the business and avoid back/secluded entrances when opening/closing the business.
- Employ surveillance cameras strategically.
- Implement some form of entrance and exit control. Make sure persons can be clearly identified by the cameras as the video footage assists the SAPS with their investigation.
- Inspect your CCTV cameras regularly, ensuring these are functioning optimally without any blind spots.
Shop owners can use the following tips:
- Maintain visibility throughout the store.
- Do not keep a large amount of cash inside the store and change your pattern of banking.
- Remain alert and watchful for suspicious activity.
- Take precautions during the opening and closing of the facility.
DEALING WITH CASH IN YOUR BUSINESS
- Alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash.
- Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.
- Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue.
- Avoid carrying money bags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book.
- It’s advisable to identify another branch nearby that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected.
- If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.
- Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public, rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.
- Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical “pay day”.
- Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to your contract workers or casual labourers personal bank accounts or using the “cash send” facility.
BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HIRE
Businesses are suffering losses due to theft by their own employees. Unfortunately, businesses often employ staff without any background checks, copies of IDs or proof of address which means that the business has no details to assist the SAPS in conducting their investigations and resolving a case or finding their property back.
We therefore urge businesses to please follow some basic good practices when hiring new staff, even if it is deemed casual or short-term staff:
- Make sure who you are hiring – insist on a proper ID and proof of residence.
- Make copies of these documents and keep securely.
- Insist on and check for previous working references – phone them and check.
- Do random checks on staff before they leave the premises.
- Secure unused equipment and tools to avoid items “walking out the door”.
- There are many other good HR practices and safeguards that can be researched and applied with minimal cost. implications. Please don’t be a victim and take the necessary precautions.
SAFETY TIPS FOR COMMUTERS & STAFF USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Here are some tips to remember, especially when walking alone at night:
- Awareness is your first line of defence – be aware of yourself and your surroundings
- Avoid walking alone.
- Trust your instincts: if something feels wrong, it most probably is.
- Avoid headphones: you need your ears to hear what is going on around you.
- When walking alone, don’t talk on your cell phone – you will be distracted and not aware of what is going on around you. Also, keep your phone out of sight.
- Strap your bag across your chest and hold it tight, without looking nervous. Keep the zip opening towards you. Remember, backpacks can easily be tampered without you noticing it.
- Do not carry too many packages at once – you must always have clear visibility and freedom of motion.
- Do not wear expensive jewellery.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash and avoid drawing money when walking alone at night.
- Stick to well-lit and busy streets. Avoid dark areas, parking lots or alleys.
- Don’t wear shoes or clothing that restricts your movements.
- Carry a noisy friend – a whistle! Carry it around your wrist or in your hand, it will not be of any use in your bag.
Here are some tips to remember, especially when using an ATM:
- Choose ATMs in Well-Lit, Populated Areas:
- Use ATMs located in areas with good visibility and foot traffic. Avoid isolated or poorly lit locations.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings:
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings while using the ATM. Avoid distractions like phone calls or texting.
- Check for Skimming Devices:
- Before inserting your card, inspect the ATM for any unusual attachments or devices. If something looks suspicious, don’t use it.
- Shield Your PIN:
- Use your hand or body to shield the keypad while entering your PIN. This prevents anyone from seeing or recording it.
- Avoid Assistance from Strangers:
- Never accept help from strangers at the ATM, even if they seem helpful. Only use the machine by yourself.
- Use Familiar ATMs:
- Stick to ATMs from reputable banks or financial institutions. Avoid using standalone or poorly maintained machines.
- Have Your Card Ready:
- Have your card in hand before approaching the ATM. Avoid fumbling for it once you’re at the machine.
- Inspect the Card Slot:
- Check the card slot for any unusual protrusions or devices. If it looks tampered with, don’t use it.
- Cancel the Transaction if Necessary:
- If you notice anything suspicious while using the ATM, cancel the transaction and leave the area.
- Keep Receipts Secure:
- Avoid leaving ATM receipts behind or in the machine. Take them with you and dispose of them properly.
- Don’t Count Cash at the Machine:
- After withdrawing cash, put it away immediately. Counting it at the machine can make you a target for theft.
- Be Discreet with Cash:
- Avoid displaying large amounts of cash in public. Put it away securely before leaving the ATM.
- Use Online or Mobile Banking for Balance Checks:
- Checking your account balance at an ATM can expose you to potential risks. Use secure online or mobile banking instead.
- Report Suspected Issues:
- If you suspect any issues with the ATM, such as a suspicious device or malfunction, report it to the bank immediately.
- Check Your Statements Regularly:
- Review your bank statements regularly to identify any unauthorised or suspicious transactions.
SAFETY TIPS TO AVOID HIJACKINGS
Before leaving your location:
GET OFF YOUR PHONE while approaching your vehicle. Yes, we all say we can multitask, but can we really?
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings:
- Stay alert and observant of your environment, especially in unfamiliar or high-risk areas.
- Avoid High-Risk Areas:
- Whenever possible, avoid driving through areas known for high crime rates or hijacking incidents.
- Plan Your Route:
- Before setting out, plan your route and inform someone of your destination and expected arrival time.
- Keep Doors Locked and Windows Up:
- Keep all doors locked and windows up, especially when driving in areas where hijackings are more common.
- Maintain a Safe Following Distance:
- Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front to allow for an escape route if needed.
- Avoid Isolated Areas at Night:
- Try to avoid parking in poorly lit, isolated areas at night, especially if you are alone.
- Stay in Your Vehicle:
- If you suspect a threat, do not exit your vehicle. It’s generally safer to stay inside and lock the doors.
- Be Wary of Suspicious Activity:
- Pay attention to any suspicious behavior or vehicles around you. Trust your instincts and take precautions.
- Comply with Demands:
- If confronted by a hijacker, it’s often safer to comply with their demands. Your life is more important than material possessions.
- Don’t Resist Unnecessarily:
- Resisting a hijacker aggressively can escalate the situation. Assess the situation and act in the safest manner possible.
- Use Technology Wisely:
- Utilise GPS and maps to plan your route. Avoid displaying valuable items like smartphones in public.
- Have an Emergency Plan:
- Know how to quickly contact emergency services in case of an incident.
- Install a Vehicle Tracking System:
- Consider installing a tracking device on your vehicle. This can help authorities locate it in case of theft.
- Be Cautious at Intersections and Stop Signs:
- Remain vigilant when coming to a stop. Hijackers may use these moments to strike.
- Report Suspicious Activity:
- If you notice anything unusual or potentially dangerous, report it to the authorities immediately.
WHY CRIMINALS OUTSMART MOTORISTS IN SMASH AND GRAB INCIDENTS
“Checking your phone at a traffic light instead of your surroundings gives the criminal an advantage.” It is extremely important to never grab your phone to check your messages when stopping at a red traffic light. Although we understand that messages need to be checked. It is always advisable to get to your next destination first and check messages there.”
- Speed and Surprise: Smash-and-grab incidents are often quick and unexpected. Criminals can strike swiftly, breaking windows or forcing entry before the victim has a chance to react.
- Familiarity with Vulnerable Areas: Criminals may be familiar with locations where motorists are more likely to be distracted or have valuables visible. They target places like parking lots, traffic signals, or areas with limited visibility.
- Opportunistic Nature: Criminals choose moments when they see an opportunity, such as when a driver is momentarily distracted, using a phone, or not paying full attention to their surroundings.
- Escape Routes: Many times, criminals have planned escape routes that allow them to flee quickly after committing the crime. They may know the area well and have multiple exit options.
- Knowledge of Response Time: They might have a general understanding of police response times, aiming to complete the crime and escape before authorities arrive.
- Disguises and Camouflage: Some criminals may use disguises or blend in with their surroundings to avoid detection.
- Use of Tools and Equipment: Criminals often come prepared with tools like hammers, crowbars, or glass-breaking devices that allow them to quickly gain access to vehicles.
- Lack of Witnesses: Smash-and-grab incidents can occur in areas with few witnesses, giving the criminals an advantage in escaping unnoticed.
- Experience and Skill: Some criminals may have experience in executing these types of crimes, making them more efficient and effective in their actions.
- Minimal Risk Perception: In some cases, criminals may perceive smash-and-grab incidents as low-risk crimes. They believe they can quickly grab valuables and escape without being caught.
To counteract these tactics, motorists can take precautions such as:
- Avoid Leaving Valuables Visible: Keep valuables out of sight, and secure them in the trunk or a covered storage area.
- Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious when stopped at intersections or in parking lots.
- Lock Doors and Close Windows: Keep your vehicle secure, especially when parked or at a stop.
- Use Anti-Smash Film: Consider applying a protective film to your windows that makes them more resistant to shattering.
- Park in Well-Lit, Busy Areas: Choose well-lit parking lots or areas with high foot traffic.
- Install a Car Alarm or Security System: This can deter criminals and alert you or others if a break-in is attempted.
SAFETY TIPS IN RAINY WEATHER
Driving in the wet requires that motorists take extreme caution to ensure their and other road-user’s safety.
- Reduce Speed: Slow down to a safe speed that allows you to have better control of your vehicle.
- Increase Following Distance: Leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This allows for greater reaction time in case of sudden stops.
- Use Headlights: Turn on your headlights, even during the day. This improves visibility for both you and other drivers.
- Avoid Sudden Movements: Sudden acceleration, braking, or sharp turns can lead to loss of control. Gently apply the brakes and steer.
- Check Tires: Ensure your tires have adequate tread depth for better grip on wet roads. Bald tires can lead to hydroplaning.
- Defog Windows: Use your defogger or air conditioning to keep windows clear. Visibility is crucial for safe driving.
- Beware of Hydroplaning: Avoid driving through large puddles or standing water. If you do hit a puddle, try to drive in a straight line and lift off the accelerator.
- Stay Away from Flooded Areas: Don’t attempt to drive through flooded roads. It’s hard to gauge the depth of the water, and your vehicle may get stuck.
- Use Turn Signals: Indicate your intentions well in advance, giving other drivers more time to react.
- Avoid Cruise Control: Using cruise control in wet conditions can be dangerous as it may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Stay Calm: If you do start to skid or slide, remain calm. Gently steer in the direction you want to go, and avoid slamming on the brakes.
- Maintain Vehicle Lights and Brakes: Ensure your brakes are in good working order, and check that all lights are functioning properly.
- Be Mindful of Others: Pay extra attention to the behavior of other drivers. Anticipate potential hazards and give them space.
- Plan Your Route: If possible, choose routes with better drainage and less exposure to potential flooding.
- Pull Over if Necessary: If conditions become too severe, it’s better to find a safe spot to pull over and wait for the weather to improve.
DON’T BE A VICTIM OF CYBER-CRIME
Cyber-crime is a fast-growing area of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual.
Here are a few cyber-crime prevention tips, to help avoid becoming a victim of such crime.
- Strong, Unique Passwords: Use complex passwords and avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. Include a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring multiple forms of verification to access an account.
- Regular Software Updates: Keep your operating system, applications, and antivirus programs up-to-date. These updates often contain patches for known vulnerabilities.
- Beware of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when clicking on links or providing personal information in emails, especially if they seem suspicious. Verify the sender’s email address and check for grammatical errors or unusual requests.
- Use a Firewall: A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and potential intruders. Enable a firewall on your computer and network.
- Install a Reputable Antivirus/Anti-Malware Program: This helps protect against viruses, malware, and other malicious software.
- Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Change default router passwords and use strong, unique passphrases. Enable WPA3 encryption for your Wi-Fi network.
- Regularly Back Up Data: Keep backups of important files on an external device or cloud service. This can help you recover your data in case of a cyberattack.
- Monitor Financial Accounts: Regularly review bank and credit card statements for any unauthorised or suspicious activity.
- Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about common cyber threats and educate family members or colleagues about best practices.
- Be Cautious on Social Media: Avoid oversharing personal information and be cautious of friend requests or messages from unknown individuals.
- Secure Your Mobile Devices: Use strong passcodes and consider using biometric authentication. Install security apps and keep your device’s software updated.
- Encrypt Sensitive Information: Use encryption tools to protect sensitive data, especially when transmitting it over the internet.
- Limit Access: Grant access to sensitive information only to those who need it and revoke access for former employees or partners.
- Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect you’ve encountered cybercrime, report it to the appropriate authorities or your organization’s IT department.