THERE is a very real threat of becoming desensitised and even complacent about our personal security, despite it being an everyday issue in South Africa. “We hear of incidents, we know of people who have been affected and it seems to be a part of everyday life for most South Africans. But we need to be aware that personal safety should always be top of mind. We can’t become complacent because criminals are opportunistic,” said Ivan Govender, district manager (KwaZulu-Natal) for Fidelity ADT. He says it’s interesting to note that reaction officers patrolling suburbs often find gates and garage doors left open. “And often when there has been a break-in at a house we’ll find that the alarm wasn’t on at the time. So, while residents have security measures in place they become complacent about their security and don’t use them properly,” he said. Govender urges residents to take security seriously and to have regular talks with their families and domestic staff. “Close gates, set alarms, get to know your neighbours and resident’s associations and be alert.”He suggests memorising emergency numbers and loading them as speed dials onto your cellphone. “It also makes sense to know where your closest police, fire stations and hospitals are. When at home, always keep your panic button with you and make a conscious effort to lock doors and security gates.”“When leaving and returning to your house, be aware of your surroundings. If you suspect you are being followed, put your indicator on and slow down at least two to three houses prior to your home. Or drive to your nearest police station or guard hut. If you know you are getting home late, request a safe entry service from your security provider. It is also advisable to keep a panic remote on hand when arriving home as this will allow you to remotely activate the alarm system in case of an emergency”Govender adds that if you stay in a secure complex with security guards, do not be fooled into thinking you are safe. “You can easily be followed into your complex so always remain vigilant. Research shows that most people relax the closer they get to home and this is often when they are most vulnerable. Be alert when entering and exiting. And always remain vigilant when you are returning from a shopping centre or school.”He believes that community safety awareness is also key for personal safety and that we all play a part in keeping our neighbourhoods safe. “Report any suspicious individuals in your neighbourhood to your security provider and share information with your neighbours so everyone is empowered about crime and crime trends,” he said. When out and about, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. “Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, leave the area. Always inform someone of your whereabouts and avoid carrying large amounts of cash,” Govender said. “And, if you are going out at night, try to move around in well-lit areas only. “Don’t take unnecessary risks by getting home late or walking too early in the morning or too late at night,” he said. — Supplied.