For safety’s sake

Keith Blake, community leader, Ottery

As a retired police officer, I would like to share some safety tips to help people avoid becoming a crime statistic over the festive season.

Child safety

• Tell your children never to talk or interact in any way with strangers.

• Know where your children are at all times, and make sure they know your contact details.

• Never send a child to a shop or on an errand alone, even if it is nearby.

• Ask your children every day how their day was.

Home safety

• A good barking dog can protect your property.

• Check your home and see where it is vulnerable to criminals.

• Get to know your neighbours and form a buddy system so that you can keep an eye on each other’s properties and help each other in emergencies.

• Check if you have a neighbourhood watch, and find out where your local police station and other emergency services are.

• Know the name and contact details of your ward councillor.

Vehicles

• Check your vehicle’s roadworthiness.

• Make sure you have enough petrol before going somewhere.

• Obey all rules of the road.

• Plan your route and inform your family about it.

• Keep car doors locked at all times.

• Park in a safe place.

Shopping

• Place your money in three or four different places on your body to lessen the chances of you losing it all if you are mugged.

• Never leave your handbag or items under chairs or benches. Hold onto them while shopping and watch out for pickpockets.

• Hold children’s hands while shopping and watch them all the time.

ATMs

• Do not ask for or accept assistance from anyone at an ATM.

• Don’t use an ATM in an isolated area or after hours.

• Don’t flash the cash that you have drawn.

Cellphones

• Avoid using cellphones in public or placing them in back pockets or in open handbags.

• Never use a cellphone while driving.

• Always have sufficient data on your cellphone – you never know when you need it in an emergency.

• Know whom your children are communicating with or what they are watching on their cellphones.

Beaches and parks

• Always check the weather.

• Make sure you are aware of emergency safety measures.

• Avoid deserted places and remember that there is safety in numbers.

• Children should be supervised by a responsible adult.

• Fall flat if there is shooting – you will be less of a target.

Covid-19

• Wear your mask, keep your distance from others and sanitise your hands properly.

Emergency numbers

Life Line – 021 461 1113

Child Line – 080 012 3123

Gender-Based Violence SA – 0800 428 428

Rape Crissis – 021 447 9762.

Ambulance – 10177

Police Flying Squad – 10111.

Nationwide cellphone emergency number – 112.

City of Cape Town general emergency – 107 on a landline or 021 480 7700 on a cellphone.