THE festive season is upon us and everyone is gearing up for Christmas and New Years Day celebrations.With this in mind, the KwaDukuza SAPS urges the community of KwaDukuza to be vigilant and safe during the festive season. According to KwaDukuza SAPS Station Commander Brigadier S.F. Mhlongo, although members of the community are looking forward to the festive sea- son and spending their hard earned money with their loved ones, regrettably, this is also the time in which criminals pounce on their unsuspecting victims. “As a precautionary measure, the KwaDukuza SAPS would like to caution members of the community against carrying large amounts of cash, as victims are followed out of banks after a cash withdrawal has been made. Victims can be followed after withdrawing cash from the ATM, straight to their homes, work, or any other place which is easy to get robbed.” The below safety tips have been formulated by the KwaDukuza SAPS to assist you in being safe during the festive season. MONEY SAFETY TIPS • Carry as little cash as possible.• Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically — consult your bank to find out about other available options. • Don’t allow any stranger to assist you at the ATM when making a withdrawal.• Consider making use of cell phone banking, internet transfers, or ATM’s to do your electronic banking. • Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you. • Vary days and times when you deposit cash.• Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue. • Avoid carrying money bags, briefcases, or openly displaying your deposit receipt book. • It is advisable to identify another bank branch nearby that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected. • If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.• Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public; rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.• Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts. STOKVEL SAFETY TIPS • Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days — for example on a Monday after month end. • Ensure persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member. • A Stokvel savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions. • Arrange for the club’s pay out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice. • Take another person with you when going to deposit cash club contributions. SAFETY ON THE STREETS OF KWADUKUZA • Try not to walk in remote places at any time. • Do not carry large sums of money. • If you are out at night, make sure you are in well-lit areas. Also try to go out in groups, and never alone. • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. · Carry your handbag close to your body and avoid wearing highly visible jewellery. · Have your keys ready when you approach your car and always look inside your car before you get in. · Never overload yourself with parcels — it could make you a target. · Always know the area you are in. SAFETY IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD · Have a visible number on your gate. · Ensure that your house is properly burglar proof. · When you leave your home for work, close your windows. · Ensure that the domestic worker doesn’t open the door for any strangers. · Ensure that your domestic worker has your work phone number and all emergency contact numbers. · It is advisable to have a monitored alarm system installed in your home; ensure that it is in working order. · Avoid having your home hidden by overgrown trees — try to make it as visible as possible from the road.· Never ignore suspicious persons loitering around your home. SAFETY FOR THE ELDERLY · Keep doors locked when you are alone at home, even during the day. · Install safety gates and ALWAYS make sure you know the person at the door BEFORE opening the door. · Be careful of “too friendly” strangers who want work. · Don’t employ strangers and always make copies of all employees ID books. · Be especially aware of suspicious persons around you when you get your pension money. · Avoid walking alone. Mhlongo urges the members of the KwaDukuza community to take extra precautions to ensure they are safer during the festive season. “As the station commander of KwaDukuza SAPS, I wish you a prosperous festive season. Ensure that you are vigilant at all times and never compromise your safety,” she said.