No matter where you are in South Africa, crime will always be a threat. Hijackings and home invasions, especially, are an ongoing problem for most South Africans, more so for those living in big cities.
In September, Statistics SA published its annual victims of crime survey, which detailed how South Africans were being targeted by criminals.
The survey revealed how an estimated total of 1.5-million crime incidents were experienced by approximately 1.2-million households in 2016/17.
These shocking statistics make it clear that people are at risk.
How to prevent home invasions:
An alarm system, electric fencing and burglar bars are the best options to prevent intruders from breaking in. While dogs can also be a good form of security, always train them on what to eat and what not to so as to avoid them accepting food from others and running the risk of being poisoned. Setting up your security system in a way that ensures you have fair warning when an entrance or window has been breached will also give you an important advantage to respond to any alarm.
1. Call for help: Always have your phone in your possession when you are at home. It is best to have your landline telephone in a place where you can easily reach it in case of an emergency.
2. Escape: If your home has many exit points and you have enough warning, it might be worth it to try to escape. You can only do so if all members of the family are able to get out.
3. Hide: This safety measure should only be taken when armed response has been contacted and only if you know the response time. It is, however, a bad idea to hide in the main bedroom as it is a target for intruders.
4. Cooperate: If it happens that you are confronted by intruders, always cooperate with their instructions. DO NOT scream and try to run away, as that may result in injury. Also, avoid fighting back, no matter how tempted you are to do so.
How to avoid hijackings:
1. Always check the back seat before getting into your car.
2. Always check the rearview mirror to see if you are being followed.
3. Avoid driving with your windows open and keep the doors locked. Put all valuables out of sight.
4. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or public area.
5. If you are at a traffic light, always leave a one vehicle space and never place your gear on neutral.
6. Change your routes and your schedule if possible on a regular basis.