It has become a given fact that criminals are usually well experienced and seldom operate alone. National marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT, Charnel Hattingh, highlighted through a press release how one can take certain precautions to avoid criminal activity. “Ensure your electric gates are locked at all times, your alarm is fully functional and we have all your emergency numbers on speed dial. “But what if you come into contact with a criminal?“We recommend that as a family you have thought through and discussed some scenarios just in case. “Different situations require different actions and it is important to know what to do,” said Hattingh. Here are tips to handle different scenarios. What if I am at home and criminals come into my house? The first thing to do is press the panic button then at least you know help is on the way. “It is important to try and stay calm. Knowing what to do and having a prearranged plan for you and your family can save your life. Trying to think when you are under pressure is hard. “We advise that you have plans for different scenarios so you can just do it without having to think twice if it is the right thing to do,” she said. What if they have a firearm? It is never worth being a hero. Goods can always be replaced. Keep your eyes downcast and do not offer any resistance or make sudden or jerking movements. What if you have children at home or in your care Talk to your children and to domestic staff about different situations. Knowledge is powerful. It is important to have prepared children without scaring them. Ideally you should have an emergency plan in place for “in case” and domestic staff should be aware of this plan for smaller children. The plan can be shared with teenagers and older children. Most criminals are generally not kidnappers. They want to get goods if they come into your home environment. What if I need to leave the premises and walk somewhere? Do not be a creature of habit. Do not go to the shop the same time every day for example. Criminals have usually been watching your house for routine activities. If you are walking on the street make sure you do not walk with headphones in your ears listening to music or carry a lot of cash or valuables. If you are distracted this can make you a target. What if you are the first person on a crime scene? Press your panic button and call the police and ambulance to make sure you have back-up on the way. If possible, cordon off the scene. Do not start cleaning up anything, like broken glass, as this could tamper with the crime scene.We recommend you make some physical notes. You can do this on your phone until the SAPS or your private security provider arrives. If you can, limit access to and movement from the area, but also remain vigilant as criminals could still be on the scene. What if there are witnesses to a criminal activity? Not everyone wants to be a witness. A potential witness is anyone present on the scene, or in the vicinity. Ask them not to leave without taking their full details and encourage them not to discuss the incident amongst themselves. This could influence their recall. Also do not share photos on groups as this could negatively influence the outcome of the case. What if you think someone is a bogus police officer or worker? Always ask for an ID. Blue lights and sirens can be bought anywhere. A badge on its own is not valid, it must be an appointment card. One way of checking is to hold it in the air. You should see a hologram effect. This is a unique look and not easy to copy. You can also dail 10111, give the ID number and they will be able to identify if that person works for them or not and if they should be on duty. What if you have been subjected to criminal activity and are dealing with the effects? Generally, when an incident happens, women experience terror and men anger. It is important to understand that it is never your fault. You are the victim and have nothing to be ashamed of. We always recommend counselling. In our experience if you do not accept counselling, it is going to take longer to recover. You will often share experiences during counselling that you may not tell your family.It is recommended that you have a family counselling session because even if everyone was not present, there is often a ripple effect.