Safety over long weekend
Pretoria: 27 April 2017 – As many South Africans will take this opportunity to enjoy a long weekend over the next few days, the South African Police Service assures all communities that in line with our Back-to-Basics approach, our members will be on duty, ready to serve and protect.
As your safety and security is our priority, in terms of our Constitutional mandate, we want to assist you in being aware of your surroundings, your safety and the safeguarding of your property over this time.
It is common knowledge that when one is in a holiday mood and relaxing, whether at home or away, one can become vulnerable to accidents or crime.
We have found that a common crime / accident generator, particularly during holidays, is the consumption of alcohol. If abused or consumed excessively, alcohol tends to not only cause one to commit crimes but it can also result in one becoming a victim of crime. Vehicle accidents and drowning, as well as other accidents, are often a result of over-consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.
Vigilance is important, especially when withdrawing and/or carrying cash, which should not be drawn in large quantities. Care should be taken when using debit and credit cards while making in-store purchases as well as online.
As part of our Back-to-Basics approach entails collaborative and consultative policing, we want to urge our most important stakeholders, the communities we serve, to help us keep you safe by adhering to the following basic safety tips where they apply to your circumstances:
– Organisers of water activities must ensure that appropriate equipment such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first-aid kit are available with the necessary instructions.
– Special care must be taken at isolated dams, rivers and pools on farms and in rural areas, especially after heavy rainfall in the area. Even a small inflatable pool or bucket full of water is a potential danger for toddlers.
– Safe swimming in the sea – be extra cautious when swimming in the sea, even experienced swimmers have been known to drown.
– Before entering the sea, swimmers must take time to watch the waves and avoid places where there is a strong backwash, obvious rip currents or a danger of being washed onto the rocks; only enter the water where the waves are straight and gentle.
– If you experience a strong current, get out of the water, or at least do not go in deep.
– Only swim in designated areas, supervised by lifeguards; if the lifeguards give you directions or instructions from the beach, obey immediately.
– Never swim when intoxicated. An intoxicated swimmer will tire more easily, increasing the chance of an accident or drowning.
– Do not swim in river mouths, dirty water, very early in the morning or early evenings after it has rained – shark activity increases under these circumstances.
– Never swim alone or over-estimate your swimming abilities.
– Never leave a young child unattended near water and never make a child responsible for another child, even for five minutes.
Residential security is a critical component of any personal security programme. The following guidelines can be used:
– Keep all doors locked.
– Do not leave a spare key hidden outside the home.
– Ensure that animals are fed while you are away.
– Ask a friend or colleague to check your residence periodically during your absence.
– Lock all your valuables in a SABS approved safe; this is vital in the case of firearms.
– If possible install burglar bars and gates in front of all doors and windows that can open and a security system.
– Know your neigbours, in this way you can look out for each other.
– Know your family’s movements, especially that of your children.
– Do not drive away before your gate had closed.
– Let a family member wait for you in the driveway if you come home late and ensure your driveway is well lit.
– Do not get out of your vehicle before the gate had closed behind you.
– If your gate won’t open with the remote, do not get out. Call a person in the house for assistance or drive away and ask the police to assist you.
– Teach young children never to allow strangers into the home.
– Never give the impression that you are home alone.
– Never advertise your absence on social media.
In a hotel or holiday home:
Many of these tips are used internationally as well as in our country:
– Do not discuss your movements in public areas.
– Do not entertain strangers in your room.
– Be alert to over friendly strangers.
– Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase.
– Place all valuables in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe.
– Familiarise yourself with escape routes in the hotel so that you are prepared for any eventuality, even fire.
– Use your door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room.
– Do not discuss your room number in the hotel’s public areas, and do not leave your keys on a table.
– Keep you room neat, this way you will see if something has been moved/taken or if someone was in your room.
Whilst driving, parking and entering or exiting your residence:
– Always keep the doors locked.
– Keep your windows closed, or only a few millimetres open.
– Leave enough manoeuvring space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
– If you are being followed or harassed by another vehicle, drive to the nearest police station, petrol station or any other busy public space. Park as close as you can to the building and go inside, phone the police from there or let the cashier/attendant call for help.
– Never pick up hitchhikers.
– When parking your vehicle at night, ensure that you leave your vehicle in a well-lit area, where there are a lot of people.
– Always lock valuables, handbags and other parcels in the boot of your vehicle, this will eliminate smash and grab crimes.
– Never lock valuables in your boot in the parking lot of a shopping mall. Criminals may have been watching you and can wait for you to come back, rather lock all valuables in the boot before you leave your home.
– Before entering your vehicle, look through the back side window to ensure that no-one is already in your vehicle.
– When locking your doors via remote control, stand next to the vehicle and feel if the door is closed then walk away. This will eliminate remote blocking devices.
– Be familiar with alternative routes.
– Be vigilant at stop streets, robots and intersections.
– If involved in a minor bumper-bashing where there are no injuries and you feel unsafe, drive to the nearest police station immediately or a public area and report the accident to the police from there.
– Be extra vigilant in underground parking areas.
– Have your car key in your hand before leaving any shopping mall or other place.
– If you encounter engine problems, raise the bonnet and stay inside the car. If stranger approach you, let them call for help. Do not leave the safety of your vehicle.
– Never drink and drive, SAPS and metro services have a zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
– Do not use your cell phone while driving, except if you have a hands free kit.
– Never text and drive.
– Do not leave children or animals unattended in a car.
The South African Police Service wishes all in South Africa a peaceful and safe Freedom Day and for the fortunate ones, a joyous long weekend. We thank the men and women in blue for their commitment to serving and protecting while others relax and spend family time.