Advertorial Enforce keeping communities safe

2016-03-15 06:00

LAST week’s tragic murder of Tokai teenager Franziska Blöchliger has gripped the hearts of not only the Cape Town community in which she lived, but those of residents throughout the country.

It was a senseless murder that struck the Blöchliger home on Monday 7 March, and saw her father Florian revealing that although he knew crime was coming “closer and closer”, he never expected that it would come “so close” as to “rip right into my heart”.

The 16-year-old was found murdered a few hours after she went jogging on a path alongside the Tokai forest while her mom waited for her 11-year-old sister’s school bus to arrive, at about 3pm on Monday.

Franziska had decided against taking her dog with her as she said it would slow her down. She had arranged to meet back at the same spot in 25 minutes but never arrived.

Her body was found 150 metres from the meeting spot, just a few hours after her family reported her missing. She was badly beaten and had been robbed of her iPhone and mother’s tracking watch.

Speaking of the tragedy, Enforce Security director Derek Lategan said he was saddened at the news of the teenager’s murder, and hoped that justice would be served following the arrest of four suspects in connection with it. He also said his thoughts and condolences were with her family and friends.

He has also urged people to learn from this, and “do whatever they can” to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“Crime can – and does – strike anyone, anywhere, and at any time, and people need to do more than ever before to ensure they are vigilant and keep as safe as possible.

“In the country’s current criminal landscape, one can never take too many precautions.”

Issuing crucial advice for joggers, Lategan said they should always run in groups – or at the very least, with one other person.

They should also stick to public areas that they know well and are devoid of thick bush or trees, and avoid wearing any jewellery or carrying fancy tech equipment, such as MP3 players or cell phones. If they needed to carry these, they should keep them concealed.

“Opportunistic criminals are always looking for easy targets, so by not carrying anything of value, people can limit their chances of being robbed and possibly attacked, or worse, as we have seen in this terrible case.

“By not wearing earphones or headphones, joggers will also avoid being deaf to what is going on around them as a result of the music playing in their ears.”

Other tips Lategan gave included wearing bright coloured clothing so joggers are easily seen, not running before sunrise or after dark, and telling loved ones where they are running and how long they will be. He added that joggers should also vary their routes and running times in the event that they are being monitored by criminals.

“If possible, they should carry pepper spray with them. If they do run with cell phones – and are able to keep them concealed, having a cell phone panic button installed is highly recommended. This will allow emergency services to not only be alerted to their trouble, but also know exactly where to find them.”

Lategan added that runners should always be aware of their surroundings and run in residential areas where possible. This will allow them to call for help or run into the safety of someone’s property if ever they felt they were being followed, or were under attack.

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