Most of us are working hard at meeting year-end deadlines, with one goal in mind: Putting our feet up and relaxing. Whether you and your family are spending the holidays at home or have a holiday booked, there are some safety and security measures that you might be implementing already but here’s a reminder anyway, because we like our readers safe and sound.
When on a break in the relaxing comfort of your own home or holiday accommodation, you may be tempted to let your guard down, pun intended. Remember to remain safe and alert by implementing these basic security measures.
#1 Keep your security gates and doors locked when you and your family are inside. Rather open windows if it is hot.
Top tip: During a heat wave it is very effective to keep block out curtains drawn. The home remains cool and you save on electricity since you won’t need fans or air conditioners.
#2 When leaving home or returning from a quick shopping trip wait to make sure that your electric gate and garage door closes before driving on or getting out of your car.
#3 Remain alert. If returning home from shopping or a family gathering look out for suspicious behaviour around your property or cars following you. If you feel that you are being followed or that there might be an intruder please do not stop to investigate or confront the criminal. Drive to a police station and request assistance.
#4 Arm your alarm when possible. When you are ready to go to bed or leaving the home, even for a quick run to the shops, arm your alarm. Not only is this proven to be an effective deterrent for criminals it also ensures that you do not encounter problems from your house content insurer if you need to claim; if your alarm was not armed your insurer is likely to reject your claim.
#5 This might seem far-fetched and alarmist, but think twice about throwing the boxes and packaging in which your Christmas gifts come on the curb. Especially new expensive electronics you might be spoiling yourself with. Don’t advertise the contents of your home to petty criminals.
#6 If you have a pool, fish pond or jacuzzi it is vitally important to keep it safe for little ones. This is something those with older kids or no children should be especially conscious of. If you are expecting guests with small toddlers please make sure that your home is safe for all guests and avoid the unthinkable from happening.
On the road
When travelling long distance there are many potential threats to your safety and security.
#1 Before leaving for your destination check your vehicle to ensure that it is safe and capable of the intended journey. You do not want to risk a break-down in the middle of nowhere at an inconvenient time.
#2 Ensure that your petrol gauge remains at a level you are comfortable with. As with point one, getting stuck with no petrol could endanger your security.
#3 Plan your rest stops carefully, make sure that you stop for a break in busy places you are comfortable with. Stopping at the side of the road because of exhaustion or if a small child needs a bathroom break could have dangerous consequences.
#4 If you need to over-night halfway to your end destination ask in advance where your vehicle will be parked. Investigate the over-night destination online to make sure it is secure and comfortable.
Whether on a crowded beach, in a restaurant, a busy mall or a favourite family outing, when among throngs of people you need to be alert and on guard to protect your personal belongings and even, sadly, young children that may be with you.
#1 There has been an increase in reports of attempted kidnappings of babies and young children, especially at Gauteng malls. If possible, leave your child at home with your partner or a trusted caregiver to go to the shop alone. If you need to take your child try not to go alone, have your partner with you. If you have no alternative but to go alone avoid putting babies in prams and shopping trolleys. Have them in an ergonomic carrier of your choice. Older children should not be left alone, keep an eye on your children when in crowds at all time.
Remember!: Please never feel tempted to leave your child alone in the car. This is never okay, not even for a quick dash into the shop. What’s more, in warm summer weather like we can expect during December, you risk injury and even death to young children left in a warm car for too long.
#2 Try not to walk around with too much cash on your person, if possible transact with your debit card. If you need to draw money, be alert at the ATM, watching for any suspicious persons who might be watching you.
#3 Watch out for potential opportunistic criminals following you home from a shopping centre, especially if they might have seen you purchasing expensive items.
#4 When locking your car check the doors to make sure that it is actually locked. This will save you from criminals using remote jamming to steal your car.
#5 Don’t leave your bag, cell phone, or car keys unattended or where you cannot see it at all times. There has been an increase in criminals stealing bags and cell phones in restaurants without the victim noticing. When shopping, it is very easy to steal a bag from a trolley or baby pram. Keep these items on your body at all times.
These are simple, easily implementable security measures to ensure that the coming festive holiday period is as relaxing as you are imagining it will be.