Your safety is your responsibility

2016-06-22 06:00

ON 23 May our community was shocked with the news of a woman who was held up at knife point at our bird park.

“This is not an isolated case, according to crime statistics, we deal with daily estimates of 50 murders a day, 50 attempted murders a day, over 500 grievous bodily harm assault charges a day, 200 rape cases a day and 300 aggravated robbery incidents a day. And that’s just a couple of estimated figures,” said safety expert, Morné Swanepoel.

“Now 50 murders doesn’t sound like much, but multiply that by 30 and then with 12, that gives us an estimate of 18 000 people a year who are murdered. According to the Medical Research Council this amount is way higher.

“Our reality, when it gets to crime and more so, violent crime, is scary. The Amanzimtoti area is no different being involved in the security industry for more than 25 years, and dealing with numerous people on a daily basis you quickly come to realise that we are in a middle of a war zone,” Swanepoel added.

He said any incident where there is a victim involved is sad and just not right. “The worst thing you can do is to do nothing or turn a blind eye on what is happening every day. Most people only want to do something about it once they become a victim, which in some incidents is sadly too late.”
The expert said the misconception regarding realistic self-defence training is not helping. Some people feel they can defend themselves because they served in the military 20 years ago, but don’t realise that times have changed, crime and criminals have changed.
“Most of us rely on reactive local security forces, who are just a couple of minutes away, not understanding what the criminal or attacker can do to them within a couple of seconds. You are the first responder, and you will have to deal with the attacker and stay alive until help arrives … if it even does arrive.
“Proper self-defence training should incorporate pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict training methods, techniques, tactics and scenario based training. One needs to also understand that it not always physical, but rather most real world, self-defence has got to do with mental preparedness, awareness and toughness,” he added.

The woman who was held up at the bird park gives some safety tips.

• Don’t follow a routine. Criminals are not dumb. They are intellectual and precise as this is their way of making a living. Spatial awareness, mixing your routines, times, places, etc., is essential in staying one step ahead of criminals.

• She felt unsafe. Part of self-defense training is to trust your gut or your sixth sense. If something doesn’t feel right then listen to what your senses tell you and react to it.
• She says she saw a security guard and thought it might be safe. One needs to understand that your personal safety is your responsibility, no one else’s. Just like you cannot rely on having a firearm with you 24/7, and even then rely that using is going to be 100% successful..

She placed her cellphone in a hidden compartment. This was a great tactical move on her side. Pity she didn’t have an old cellphone, and throw-away purse with R10 in it and some cards you receive in the post to open accounts at the various stores. She would have then been able to save her new phone.
After the incident ET, Blue, CCPO and police were on the scene within minutes. The more security patrolling our streets, the better. One needs to realise these are reactive units, which means they are not present with you 24/7 and cannot protect you at all times. They usually get called out to the incident, which could be already too late. You are the first responder and you need to be able to protect yourself and your loved ones until help arrives.
It is imperative that one invests in the safety and security of yourself and your loved ones, and that includes, and not limited to, security forces, security measures taken at home or business and then most important real world self-defence training as you will be the first responder to your incident. Rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. - Supplied.

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