Crime is a reality for most South Africans, and there is a high probability that you might become a victim of crime. There might be the common misconception that you are more vulnerable to crime when it is dark. However, criminals do not always operate this way as you are also susceptible to crime even during the day.
Crime refers to an offence that results in punishment through receiving a fine or imprisonment. Some of the most common crimes include robberies, burglaries and assault. Though you are vulnerable at any time of day, there are however some measures that you can take to ensure that you become less of a target. Below are some situations that can leave you vulnerable to crime and the strategies to follow to avoid them.
- Pulling into your driveway/your gate
Whenever armed robberies or hijackings occur, they are rarely opportunistic. Before criminals target someone, they would have spent time looking into their victim’s routines and using this information. They will plan their crime according to the information they gain. One way that makes you vulnerable to crime is by pulling up to your gate or driving into your driveway. Therefore, when pulling into your home, you must remain vigilant. Before pulling into your home, check for cars or people in your street, especially any activity that might be suspicious. Ensure that the gate is completely open before you pull up, and ensure that the car doors are locked until the gate closes. Ensure that you also have a panic remote in your car.
- Flashing valuables
Criminals are always on the lookout for their next victim, and most of them are opportunistic. Keeping any valuables such as jewellery, phones, or cash might make it easier for criminals making you an easy target as they will likely do anything to ensure that they get that item from you. Ensure that you leave your valuables out of sight whenever you are not home, and you can store them in a safe.
Flashing valuables is not something that you should only avoid in your home, but it applies to your car as well. Ensure that you do not leave your laptop, wallet or handbag in plain sight. The best place to store your valuables is in the boot as it is not as vulnerable as windows which can easily be smashed by someone trying to steal the items.
- Running out of fuel
Running out of fuel can easily make you a target of crime, especially if this occurs in high-risk areas. Being stranded on the highway or isolated roads, whether day or night, can be incredibly dangerous. Criminals are always looking to strike easily, as they will probably get away from the scene quickly. Being stranded on the road allows criminals to target you without fearing that other motorists will try to stop or chase them. Therefore, you should make certain that you have enough fuel, especially on the highway. Do not take chances when you can see that your fuel gauge is low as you might be targeted, and it might even cost you your life. If you end up running out of fuel, ensure that you alert someone immediately and send them your location. While waiting for them to arrive, remain in your vehicle with the windows closed and doors locked.
- Opening the gate for strangers
If a stranger approaches your home, do not open the gate for them regardless of the story that they tell you. Some criminals will even pose as service providers or council workers to gain access to your property. However, you should remain vigilant and refuse to open your gate, especially if you are not expecting anyone. Opening the gate for strangers could have dire consequences that might lead to you losing your possessions and losing your life in the worst scenario.
- Failing to check if car doors locked before walking away
You need to be vigilant whenever you go to commonplaces, such as garages and shopping centres, as remote jamming is common in these areas. Therefore, whenever you leave your car, you should check and double-check that your car doors are locked before walking away from the vehicle. Once criminals gain access to your car, they will steal your valuables or the car itself. They could also hide in your car until you get back inside, then they will force you to go to the ATM so that you can withdraw the money.
Criminals are always looking for people to target. Therefore, you should always be alert so that you can identify suspicious people and activities. Looking out for potential danger will ensure that you remain safe.
We also take a look at The Psychological Effects of Crime on Victims & How to Seek Help.