Enjoy summer nights safely

2017-01-31 06:01

With long summer days luring more out to enjoy the CBD’s pub, club and grub scene, revellers have been cautioned to take their personal safety seriously.

Muneeb Hendricks, safety and security manager of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), says there are several things to keep in mind on a night out.

Routes should be planned ahead of time and someone told the plan. Park in well-lit areas close to your destination and double check you have locked the car doors, he advises. “Remote jamming is on the up. But the simple act of trying your door handle before you walk away will put paid to that pest. Also make sure you have left no valuables in sight, as these may entice less-common window smashers.”

If you’ve decided to leave your car at home and take a cab instead, which is wise if you’re drinking, make sure it belongs to an accredited service provider, Hendricks cautions.

On the street, travel in a group and don’t walk in areas with inadequate lighting. Keep your belongings close to your body and don’t use your cellphone while walking.

Never carry large sums of money and avoid counting your money in the open. If you need to draw money, only use ATMs in well-lit areas and watch out for people standing close to you. Don’t accept help from anyone, even a person claiming to be a bank official. “Over the past year, we’ve seen ATM scammers becoming more sophisticated. Those perpetrating crimes against ATM users are often well-dressed and work in groups of four to six. One may watch you enter your pin. Another will usually have cash in their hands so it looks as if they’ve just drawn money themselves. A common tactic is for that person to then ‘accidentally’ drop a high-value bank note on the floor. When you’re distracted by this, another member steals your card outright or switches it. The public needs to be more vigilant at ATMs than ever before.”

If you do become the victim of a crime, stay calm. Try to remember the characteristics of the criminal so you can accurately describe him when you report the crime to the police.

Theft and other crimes sometimes occur inside establishments too. Don’t leave handbags under tables, on the backs of chairs or on restroom hooks. Never leave your drink unattended or take alcohol from someone you have just met, says Hendricks.

Hendricks concludes: “The bottom line is: wherever you are – outdoors or indoors – always be aware of your surroundings. Memorising these safety tips will equip you to deal with most situations.”

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