August is Women’s Month and ADT Security has some life-saving tips and advice to empower ladies.
Theunis Kotze, General Manager ADT Inland Region, says the key to safety is always to err on the side of caution. “Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save their number to your mobile phone or memorise the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency and save them as one of your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts. Remember to avoid carrying large sums of cash, if possible. Also, if you are taking a handbag carry it close to your body at all times and zip it up. Don’t be tempted to put it into a shopping trolley, for example. Criminals are opportunistic and will take advantage of an easy situation.”
One of the major issues adding to crimes against women is that often women are distracted while going about their busy day. Distractions can range from caring for the children, carrying shopping, to speaking on a mobile phone. Candice DeLong, a former FBI criminal profiler, also highlights the importance of not being distracted. “If walking by yourself, get off your cell phone. A lot of people think that being on the phone is safe because the person on the other line can call for help, but that rarely works out. Chatting can distract you. It is better to be aware of your surroundings.”
That said she does agree that if a women is walking by herself, she should hold her cell phone and be ready to make an emergency call. Kotze says phone apps like ADT’s FindU are very useful in a situation like this and great for personal safety.
“Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres, petrol stations, ATM’s and the likes. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway, be it your own or a friend’s,” he recommends.
If you are driving, Kotze says the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. “Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside. Try and make your car a mobile-free zone so you can concentrate on your surrounds and keeping you and your family safe. Most importantly trust your instincts. Women have great intuition and should listen to their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area.”
DeLong also adds some other useful hints when approaching your car. She warns to look underneath your car before approaching it in a parking garage at night. Also if you return to your car and see that a van is parked right next to the driver’s side, enter through the passenger side. She says predators often use vans and will disguise it as a family car, even using “Baby on Board” decals. Finally if you return to your car and it has a flat tyre, back away, return to wherever you came from (restaurant, store, etc) and call for help. Once assistance arrives, approach your car. If someone comes up to you, even if they are a woman and wants to offer help, politely say, “No thank you.” If a man, he could be a predator. If a woman, she could be the lurer.
Women should especially remain vigilant when they are in public places. “When using an ATM for example, it is important to shield your pin number and be alert to anyone watching you. Place your money in your purse/wallet immediately after the transaction and close the bag. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time while using the ATM, cancel the transaction and leave.” He says women need to be particularly alert after using the ATM to any person who may follow them. “If you think someone is following you, immediately go to a safe location where there are people and contact the police. Withdraw only money needed at the time and rather seek out ATM’s located inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy locations,” he cautions.
By exercising these precautions, Kotze believes women can develop very good safety habits that will assist them in avoiding dangerous situations. “I encourage women to not only use these tips but to share them with family and friends,” he concludes.