TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
One of the riskiest times for anyone on the road is within 3 miles of leaving from/arriving at your house, because your awareness is greatly reduced. In the morning you’re probably still half asleep & wondering if you turned off the stove; in the evening maybe a little tired and thinking “Great, I’m home soon”. But apart from the near accidents that can happen on the road because you’ve relaxed your guard, far more serious is what can happen at your gate or front door.
THIS IS A HIGH RISK TIMES FOR ANYONE. You pull up to the gate, get out the car, open the gate and drive into the yard, out the car and back to the gate to close it. It is at this time that you are the most exposed to anyone wishing you harm, or to a planned/opportunistic robbery.
So please think when leaving or coming home. Pay attention to everything going on around you. Don’t make it easy for robbers. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity, as a little effort & thought can go a long way to protecting yourself and your family. And STOP chatting away on your cellular, as you will not realise you are in danger until it is too late! Approaching the gate or front door, chatting away, car keys in your pocket or bag, you start fumbling for the keys, cellular held in place by your cheek, you don’t even notice the two or three men approaching you quietly & quickly from the shadows. What are you going to do now?
So, some simple self-protection thoughts:
- Have you been using your rear view mirrors?
- Has a car or a motorbike pulled up the same time you have?
- Can you see who is inside the vehicle? (If you are being followed, never lead the person back to your home or stop and get out). Detecting people/cars/motorbikes following or watching you must become a habit.
- Are there persons loitering around?
- Is there enough lighting?
- Is overgrown vegetation providing hiding places?
- Do you have a panic alarm, and if so is it in your hand or lost somewhere in your bag/pocket?
- Where are your front door keys? If they’re in your bag or pocket, then they’re no use to you whatsoever.
- Is it time to get a dog? If you have dogs, do they normally meet you at the gate when you drive up?
- Do you have automated gates? Can be a bit expensive, but definitely worth it in the long run.
- Do you know your neighbours? Develop a rapport with them and offer to keep an eye on each others homes.
- Is there a strange vehicle? Is it heavily tinted? Know the vehicles that park on your street.
If you observe any unusual activity, report it immediately. Follow your gut instincts. Establish safe family living patterns. If you understand the importance of your contribution to the family’s (and your neighbours) overall security, everyone is safer.
Vary daily routines; avoid predictable patterns. Don’t allow criminals to study you.
If you suspect that you are being followed, drive around the block or go to the nearest Police station. Call a friend or a neighbour. Try and note the licence number, colour and make of the vehicle, and any information printed on its sides that may be useful in tracing the vehicle or its occupants.
Do not hesitate to report anything unusual.
What about your car doors and windows? Are they locked? And don’t drive around with the back windows open – its far too easy for someone to put their hand through an open window, unlock the door and then tell you where to drive!
Be prepared to drive off around any vehicle/obstacle blocking your path; into, through and over any assailants if necessary; up the curb onto the pavement/across the central reservation; or consider reversing. YOUR VEHICLE IS A WEAPON! USE IT IF YOU HAVE TO.
When someone is confronted with violence, the most common response is to do nothing. By the time one recovers from a state of shock and tries to do anything, it can be too late. The right response to various scenarios must be considered. Be alert to surroundings and ready to act IMMEDIATELY to a threat. Often it is a quick and aggressive response that’s lifesaving, even if actions are not perfect.
Most people don’t think about potential problems, so they are completely unprepared to cope. Do something NOW to counter the threat. If options are considered in advance, surprise is less likely, allowing you to do something quickly to counter an attack. Reacting quickly & confidently can change the outcome of an event drastically.
- Be aware that it’s possible.
- Be alert to what’s happening around you.
- Have a few simple plans in the back of your mind to meet different problems.
- Once a threat is developing, act quickly & confidently.
Creating scenarios and evacuation plans help you to react in the event of an incident. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best, always.
There are tactics that can be practiced for various scenarios. The more the variables change, the more comfortable and confident one becomes when quickly moving and reacting. A quick response will surprise an attacker, greatly improving odds for a defense or an escape.
There is too much going on in our environment for us to take a nonchalant attitude to life. A good sense of what is normal and what is unusual in your surroundings could be more important than any other type of security precaution you may take.
So START THINKING CONSCIOUSLY about security, about protecting yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your work colleagues and your community. Get involved and get active.
We ARE our brothers (and sisters!) keeper!