'Power in numbers': How to stay safe in your neighbourhood

"The time to sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem is over."
"The time to sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem is over."

"Recent events across our country has left most of us deeply worried about the safety of our loved ones," says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.

"Whereas there is an undeniable responsibility on the police and our criminal justice system to play their part, it is equally up to every one of us to be active participants in the safety of our family and friends,” she says, adding that the time to sit back and wait for someone else to fix the problem is over.

Must see: WATCH: Local teen brilliantly explains what is wrong with South African society today

Vigilance is the cornerstone of personal safety

"We all want to leave a better and safer world for our children and for future generations. This is a realistic goal that is achievable, provided that we stand up and get involved," she says.

The first step is to bring a new level of awareness to your daily life, she advises. 

"Awareness and vigilance is the cornerstone of personal safety. No matter where you move, you simply must pay attention to what is happening around you. Opportunistic criminals are on the lookout for people who are distracted and who could prove to be easy targets," she says.

Power in numbers

Another crucial step is getting to know your neighbours.

"People who share our suburb with us are key allies in any plan to be safe. They are often the first ones who will notice if something is wrong on your property. If we have each other’s contact details, we are better able to keep a watchful and caring eye on each other. This means if we see something out of place, we can speak up immediately," explains Hattingh.

Support for local community organisations shows the value of 'power in numbers', she adds.

Also read: 'It was horrifying' - A mom found her 'missing' preschooler in the most unlikely of places

"There are thousands of examples of hard working and caring men and women around South Africa who have joined hands to look after their fellow residents. Whether this is a formal neighbourhood watch or just a suburb WhatsApp group, it provides for valuable sharing of information and resources which can help keep people safe."

Inform your children

Talk to your children, Hattingh insists. "It is important that parents and caregivers instil the value and importance of responsible personal safety habits in their children, even from an early age," she says.

Start with the basics:

  • Never open the door for strangers
  • Learn how to arm and disarm the security system
  • Learn how to make contact with the police or with law enforcement in case of any emergency

She also suggests talking to your security service provider about the training sessions they host for schoolchildren, to help educate them about the do’s and don’ts of personal safety. 

"We can start today by helping make the world just a little bit safer than it was yesterday. In this way, we can leave a positive legacy for our children," she says. 

Compiled for Parent24 by Fidelity ADT

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