It is that time of year again and many people will be going on vacation and will be leaving homes, pets, belongings and other valuables behind.
Most people will also be taking valuables with them i.e. cash, credit cards, cameras, cell phones, firearms etc. Unfortunately, many people will be the victims of crime this holiday season.
There are a few basic tips that can be followed to minimize one’s risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Furthermore, there are basic rules to follow if you have become a victim of crime in order to ensure the crime is reported correctly and sufficient information is available for investigation.
1. ON LEAVING HOME.
When departing on holiday your home must be closed and securely locked. It is advisable to leave essential lights on or have them connected to a timer.
Arrangements must be made to remove delivered post at your home and at your post box. All valuables and firearms must be locked away in correctly installed safes.
It is advisable to join a reputable security company and be a member of the local Community Policing Forum or Neighbourhood Watch.
A family member or friend should also visit your home and check that all is in order. It is wise to ask someone to assist with switching lights on and off, opening and closing of curtains, feeding of the pets and regular removal of mail, advertisements and newspapers from mailbox. Garden maintenance such as the cutting of the lawn must also be arranged. They must make sure that power interruptions don’t leave your house unprotected, safety lights that don’t work owing to a main switch that has tripped can cause fridges and freezers to defrost and spoil food.
Emergency numbers of veterinarians, police, security company, insurance company, electricians, plumbers, builders, contact persons and your number should be available to all people you have employed to help protect your premises. Test your alarm system to ensure everything is in working order. If you are subscribed with a security company i.e. ADT, let them know that you are going on holiday, so they can do regular patrols at your home.
Valuables left at home must have their serial numbers recorded and it is advisable to have photographs of the valuables and have them stored securely.
It is also advisable to have your house, security systems, i.e. motorized gates, electric fences safes, walls or the palisades enclosing your property photographed and the photos stored securely.
A trustworthy person could live in your home while you are away, this person should be in possession of all the relevant telephone numbers as mentioned above and could be your contact person responsible for taking care of your home in your absence.
2. WHAT TO DO AFTER A CRIME HAS BEEN
COMMITTED AT YOUR HOME IN YOUR
In the unfortunate event of a crime being committed at your home ensure that your contact person, Community Police Forum member or Neighbourhood Watch member or security company reports the incident as thoroughly as possible to the police. It is advisable to have the scene of crime visited and photographed by a reliable person whom you trust.
Ensure that the police conduct a fingerprint investigation of the crime scene.
Other people cannot officially complain on your behalf and it will be necessary for you to submit a statement to the South African Police Service.
Modern technology will assist you in this regard. After evaluation of the information received from your contact people you can submit a statement via e-mail.
3. WHAT TO DO AFTER A CRIME HAS BEEN
COMMITTED ON YOUR RETURN HOME.
After returning home check exactly what had taken place in your absence and ensure you have the particulars of all missing items, the correct information regarding damage inflicted, cost of repairs, information relating to additional security guarding and the cost thereof as well as entry and exit routes used by the perpetrators.
Visit your local police station and establish who the investigator is that is assigned to the crime. Ensure the investigator has all the information required to investigate the matter. Submit a detailed statement to the police regarding the incident. Should you already have submitted a statement to the police via e-mail insist that you submit an additional statement in which the matters are mentioned that were not available when the first statement was submitted.
4. CRIME PREVENTION TIPS WHEN LEAVING
ON VACATION AND WHILE AWAY.
Travel to destinations with reputable transport companies and airlines. When travelling with your own transport ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. Ensure adequate insurance is in place for yourself and valuables.
When stopping to rest make sure that no valuables or firearms are left in the vehicle. If possible, park your vehicle where you can keep an eye on it. Always stay alert even when on holiday.
If you stop at a bed & breakfast or hotel for one night, ensure that your vehicle is parked in a secure spot, locked properly and that all valuables are removed from the vehicle.
Don’t carry too much cash on your person and don’t be flashy with your money. Always keep your wallet and personal documents with you.
When making payment with credit cards ensure that transactions are done in your presence and check that it is your own card that you received in return after completion of the transaction. Adhere to local security rules and pay attention to all safety information.
When you arrive at your destination and start to unpack, do not leave your vehicle unsupervised. If you are alone, do not leave your vehicle unlocked while not at the vehicle. The same goes for the house/chalet/flat where you are staying.
Always stay alert at home and on holiday, do not be careless. Anything can happen, even when you are on holiday. All holiday destinations have safes. Lock all valuables in the safes provided.
Don’t visit places of ill repute and don’t walk about alone or aimlessly at night.
The adherence to these basic security rules will assist in having an enjoyable and safe holiday.
MASSIV INTERNATIONAL SECURITY GROUP
Africa Protection Services