Tis the season to be jolly alert – Eight tips to stay safe this festive season

2016-12-20 06:01

CHRISTMAS is just around the corner and it’s almost time to relax, unwind and get into the holiday swing but sadly it’s also the season criminals up their game and prowl the suburbs seeking something to steal and stash away as their own holiday loot.

Blue Security operations director Brian Jackson, who regularly analyses Durban crime statistics, offers the following top festive season safety tips.

His tips are based on knowledge of real incidents and criminal modus operandi, to help you avoid crime that could mar your holiday festivities whether you’re at home, at the mall or on the road.

Drinking at parties - Warn your teenagers about the dangers of accepting drinks from strangers at parties, on the beach and in shopping malls as criminals can slip date rape drugs into their drinks without them noticing. Remind them not to leave their drinks unattended at any time or to share drinks with people that they have just met or barely know. And this tip is also good for adults – men and women – as teenagers are not the only victims of this crime.

Driving on the road - During the balmy summer holidays it’s tempting to wind down the window and feel the breeze, especially if you’re restricting air-conditioner use to save fuel in tough economic times. But open windows make it easy for criminals, lurking at traffic lights and on street corners, to hijack you or grab any valuables in sight. Rather switch on the air-conditioner and keep valuables locked in the boot or hidden out of sight inside the cubby hole.

Stopping in parking lots - Be aware of your surroundings even if you’re in a ‘secure’ undercover parking lot as no territory is out of bounds to brazen hijackers. Remote jammers are active in parking lots so remember to manually check that the doors of your car are locked. Take your car keys out of your bag before you leave the mall so that when you get to the car you can quickly unlock and pack your parcels in the boot. Don’t sit in your car and examine your till slips as this places you at risk of a hijacking.

Shopping in malls -Keep your handbag closed and securely near to your body and your wallet out of sight and reach of pickpockets. Shop for high value gifts like electronic gadgets just before you leave the mall and don’t leave your trolley loaded with parcels you have already paid for unattended while your browse in stores.

Entertaining at home - Avoid chatting in your driveway with the gates wide open when your guests arrive and leave your home. Rather say your goodbyes and have your final conversations indoors before opening up for guests to leave. Criminals often stake out potential victims before striking but they also prowl the suburbs seeking opportune moments to strike when our guard is down.

Relaxing around the pool - Splashing in the pool at home or in the ocean is one of the best ways to keep cool in summer but water safety should be top of mind especially if you have toddlers at home or visiting. Drowning accidents happen in seconds and in silence, while everyone is happily sitting around the pool, so keep your eyes peeled on toddlers, or even better, install a fence or a net over the pool to keep curious children away from the water. Older children should be supervised to avoid rough games and running on wet surfaces with the risk of slipping and falling.

Securing your home - Check the perimeter of your property for any vulnerable spots such as a broken fence and cut overgrown bushes that criminals might use as convenient hiding places. Inside your home ensure burglar bars and security gates are secure and that magnetic strips on doors and windows are intact. Test your alarm system earlier rather than later so that any faults can be fixed before you go away.

Downloading the mobile panic app – Wherever you go in the city this holiday – to the beach, to the park, for a run in your neighbourhood – take the Blue Security GPS-based mobile panic app with you so that you can call for help in any emergency. If you press the panic app on your cellphone it pinpoints your exact location and immediately relays the information to our control centre staff who determine the nature of the emergency and dispatch assistance ranging from an armed response vehicle in our area of operation to an ambulance or the AA. Get the app via the iStore or Google Play.

For more information or help with your home security system before you go away on holiday contact Blue Security on 031 717 5000 or visit www.bluesecurity.co.za

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