OUR VIEWPOINT: Safety first in a crime-ridden land

2015-07-07 09:47
Police cars outside the clothing shop that was burgled during load-shedding on Wednesday night.

Police cars outside the clothing shop that was burgled during load-shedding on Wednesday night. (Supplied)

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THE sheer bravado of criminals never ceases to amaze, or to frighten.

News from Durban yesterday was that a woman jogger was abducted at the roadside and then forced to take her kidnappers to her home, from where they would presumably have stolen a number of items were it not for the timely intervention of a Good Samaritan.

There are two important lessons to be taken from the woman’s terrifying ordeal.

First and most obvious of these is that nobody should be out on the road alone at 5 am. With a lack of exercise and obesity fast becoming South Africa’s major health problems, it is encouraging to note that some people are so dedicated to their fitness regimes that they are willing to pound the pavement at 5 am, and in winter.

And there are those who will argue that it is the woman’s right to jog alone at 5 am. But knowing the inherent risks, it is also foolish. Reports of attacks on lone runners and joggers are not uncommon — this newspaper reported just recently on the rape of a jogger in Howick, and another in Clarendon last year. Rather run in groups — safety in numbers.

The second lesson is that during what may feel like an onslaught of crime, people have got to look out for one another.

The Durban abduction only had a happy ending because an observant motorist saw the woman being held at gunpoint and bundled into a car.

In addition to reporting this to the police, the man followed the kidnappers at a distance and was able to provide the authorities with the woman’s exact address where the gunmen were holed up.

That the gunmen subsequently escaped the clutches of police officers and security guards is not his fault — he had done all that could reasonably be expected of him and more.

A rare example of a caring, selfless and brave individual in a world where many people are rather inclined to walk or drive past without stopping to assist a fellow in distress.

But the first rule should be one of common sense: do not compromise your safety by exposing yourself to unnecessary risk, especially that which could be easily avoided

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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