With the festive season just six weeks away, many residents are going to start their Christmas shopping in earnest this month.
Although crime stats are significantly down in Muldersdrift, Mike Francisco, Security spokesperson for the Muldersdrift Communication Action Group (MCAG) advises shoppers to be extra vigilant, especially when driving home from the shops or banks.
Johan Nell, CPF Chairman agrees saying there has already been a spate of car highjacking’s on Hendrik Potgieter in the Ruimsig area. “Two persons dressed in Police uniform and a Metro uniform respectively have been stopping predominantly Mercedes Benz and VW Golf drivers with unmarked cars and then placing the drivers in the boot of their car. Should you be driving and be asked to pull over for no reason slowly proceed to the nearest garage where there are normally cameras and ensure you only stop there,” cautions Nell.
Women can be especially susceptible as they are leaving shopping centres or banks. “Women often fall prey to criminals as they are seen to be vulnerable targets,” says Francisco. According to Francisco, any woman’s first line of defence is awareness. “Most people think of physical resistance when they hear the term ‘self-defence’. However, true self-defence begins long before any actual physical contact occurs. Awareness of yourself, your surroundings and your potential attacker’s likely strategy is half the battle won,” he says.
“It is important that everyone knows where their local police station is. When driving home, be alert for any cars that might be following you and if you feel uneasy drive straight to the police station or contact your private security provider. If you are on a Whatsapp group let your group know you may be in trouble.”
Nell says another area to be cautious of is churches which are now being seen as a soft target. “Churches have become a soft target for criminals stealing computers, sound equipment and speakers along with TV’s. “Security upgrades may be necessary and even cameras,” says Nell.
Here are a few practical safety and security tips:
IN THE SHOPS:
- Avoid carrying a large amount of money and keep your wallet out of sight.
- Never leave valuable possessions in the trolley.
- Always keep a close eye on your children and don’t allow your children to go to a public toilet on their own.
- Carry your bag around your neck and diagonally across your body. Do not carry on just one shoulder.
- If you are paying in cash, make sure that you do not take out more than necessary.
LEAVING THE SHOPS:
- When approaching your car, have your key in your hand and check the inside and outside before getting in.
- If someone is loitering near your car, keep away until the person leaves.
- Watch out for slow-moving cars or those parked nearby whether occupied or not (assailants could be hiding in the vehicle).
ON THE ROAD:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watch out for suspicious people or circumstances and be aware of who is behind you when driving. Be constantly alert and keep a look out for anyone suspicious.
- Ensure that all your mirrors are adjusted to give you an optimal all-round view of your surroundings.
- If you think someone is following you, drive directly to the police station.
- Never talk on your cell phone while driving as your focus will be on the conversation and not your surroundings.
“All of these pointers and advice should be shared with your families, employees colleagues and friends. Empowering yourself with this information could play a role in saving your life one day,” concludes Francisco.