10 situations that can leave you vulnerable to criminals

Bizar Male

The majority of South Africans know that crime is a reality and becoming a victim can happen to anyone.

The impunity with which criminals operate does not require the cover of darkness – residents are just as vulnerable in broad daylight.

There are, however, ways to protect yourself and your family to be less of a target.

While it should be obvious to most people that any of the 10 scenarios below are likely triggers for criminals, many people are still oblivious about the realities of crime in South Africa.

10 high-risk scenarios to take note of:

1. Running out of fuel.

Very high-risk areas are on the side of the highway – day or night – and on isolated roads. If you do run out of fuel, immediately alert someone to your location and stay in the vehicle with the doors locked and the windows closed until help arrives.

2. Carrying large amounts of cash.

Criminals are often fed inside information and then follow customers who have a lot of money on them to and from banks. Transporting large amounts of cash is very risky, so avoid this wherever possible.

3. Being unobservant when pulling up to your gate or into your driveway.

Hijackings and armed robberies are seldom opportunistic. Criminals study people’s routines and then plan their crimes around this.

4. Flashing cash, expensive jewellery and your phone around.

Opportunistic criminals are everywhere. Pricey jewellery, especially watches, are criminals’ dreams, and they are likely to stop at nothing to get that item off you. Keep your phone and money out of sight and leave expensive jewellery at home when you head to the shops.

5. Opening the gate for strangers.

Never open the gate to someone you don’t know, no matter what their story is. Criminals often pose as council workers or service providers and even as police officers.

6. Employing people to work for you without doing a background check.

This is tantamount to giving a stranger access to your property and home. Only employ staff through a reputable agency or word of mouth; always conduct a criminal check on the person and request copies of their ID.
7. Leaving doors/security gates unlocked.

This leaves your entire family vulnerable. Security gates should be locked at all times and the keys placed out of reach.

8. Walking or sitting in your car in isolated areas.

This is a scenario opportunistic criminals will take advantage of.

9. Driving with valuables in full view.

Your phone, handbag, wallet and laptop must be out of sight at all times. The safest place is the boot.

10. Not checking your car doors are locked before you walk away.

Remote jamming is still commonplace, especially at shopping centres and garages. Always check – and double check – the car doors are locked before you walk away.

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