As criminal activity increases and criminals become more innovative, women are at greater risk of being targeted. Blue Security, whose primary focus is on safer communities and empowering people to live safer lives, shares a few helpful tips on ways to stay safe at home, at the mall or on the school run.
1 Always be aware While going through your day-to-day duties of work, kids, school run, yoga or a jog and dinner – all those fun life admin tasks that never stop – self-awareness should always be top of mind. Regularly check on your home security and look for anything that seems out of place, don’t forget to arm your alarm when leaving in a rush, and always take note of your surroundings.
2 Be wary of ‘do-gooders’ Be careful of anyone trying to stop you on the road, claiming something is wrong with your car. Remember, criminals use this tactic to get you to open your window or get out of the vehicle. Instead, drive to the nearest garage or shop where you will be able to safely check or can ask for assistance.
3 Lock your doors when driving Always lock your car doors and boot and close windows at intersections. Criminals often hijack or smash-and-grab motorists stopped at a red traffic light. Don’t make it any easier for opportunistic criminals by leaving your doors unlocked.
4 Limit distractions in parking lots Tuck your phone safely in your handbag and keep your eyes up to look around and pay attention to your surroundings when shopping. If it’s late and you feel uneasy or are parked far from the entrance, ask a security guard to escort you to your car. If you reach your car and notice that it has a flat tyre, immediately back away and return to the store where you can safely ask for assistance or call for help.
5 Keep your phone out of sight When jogging alone early morning or evening when it’s dark, keep your phone hidden. And ensure that you are always aware of your surroundings.
6 Make eye contact with other pedestrians. Doing this sends a solid defensive signal that you see them and could identify them if necessary. Look them in the eye and give a polite nod to acknowledge them.
7 Keep your mobile panic app close When you are out walking, take your cellphone with you, and be ready to press your mobile panic app button to alert your security company in an emergency. Try not to use your cellphone for anything else. If it rings, rather ignore it and call back later.
8 If violently threatened If your life is being threatened hand over your handbag and belongings, put your hands up and step away while loudly calling for help.
9 Never trust a stranger Most offenders don’t even look like criminals and are often dressed very well.
10 Never leave your handbag unattended Handbag snatchers are very crafty and will grab your bag and disappear when you turn your back. Being a woman, you are most probably prepared for any situation and likely carry some form of documentation containing your physical address. That information in the wrong hands could put you at additional risk, so always keep your handbag tightly under your arm.