Christmas Of Crime Be Aware This Festive Season

Crime goes up over the festive season. The SAPS have pledged assistance and vigilance – but safety begins at home. Do you have any tips?
Jason Snyman
2017-12-18
Criminals are always on the lookout for easy targets, and crime doesn’t get any easier than during the festive season mayhem. It’s a cakewalk for crooks. The Christmas period is meant to be filled with celebration and happiness, but because we live in a dangerous country, things just don’t always work out that way. It’s a well-known fact that crime, particularly burglaries and public intoxication, increases significantly during the Christmas period. Most people are away on holiday or out for long periods of the day. Those pre-Christmas mall queues provide criminals ample opportunity to loot our houses. We also tend to be more complacent and oblivious to our surroundings this time of year. Constant vigilance is key to your safety, and that of your family. We can’t even go to the movies these days. We put together a number of tips related to trending crimes, to help you get through a safe and secure festive season.
Do you know how to avoid card fraud this season? Read more below

Burglary And Car Theft

Empty homes are soft targets for burglars. It’s a good idea to ensure there’s some kind of activity in your home while you’re away. Get somebody you trust enough not to go through your underwear drawer to come in every now and then. Switch some lights on at night, turn the television on, collect all the advertisement pamphlets clogging up your mailbox, etc. Nothing says I’m not home or my pets are eating me quite like an overflowing mailbox. As always, be aware of suspicious characters loitering around your neighbourhood. They’re easy to spot. Bandanas, gang tattoos, eyes placed really far apart on their heads. Just kidding. You’ll probably never know, until it’s too late. Best bet? Keep an eye out for cars cruising around aimlessly, which may contain unprincipled criminals searching for a target, tracking your comings and goings, etc. Businesses, likewise, should be on the lookout and consider upgrading security over the period. The biggest increase in home and vehicle break-ins tends to occur just before the season begins. Planning ahead and getting your affairs in order before the festive rush hits is the best way to avoid any misfortunes. Test your alarms, notify your security company of your Christmas plans and keep them up to date. Ensure that any easy access points into your home are remedied, including the roof. Everybody always forgets the roof. Inform your neighbours and neighbourhood watch that you will be away. If possible, pack your car inside your garage or at night, to avoid attracting the attention of any criminals who may be watching. Be aware, as always, of hijackings, remote jamming, shoplifting or pickpocketing. Crime is all around us, and will always be present.

Banking

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has cautioned people to be extra vigilant when it comes to banking. We’re vulnerable during this period, both physically as well as online. If you’re on holiday, try to keep as little cash on you as possible, and be aware of anybody in the banks who may appear to be following you around. Where and when you can, use your cards to make all of your transactions. SABRIC’s chief executive of online banking, Kalyani Pillay, made the following statement:
“Always assume that any Wi-Fi network you are using, especially those in public areas, may be compromised. Don’t use internet cafes or unsecured terminals (hotels, conference centres, etc) to do your banking. Change your password regularly and never share these with anyone else.”
Pillay went on to urge businesses to vary the days and times on which they visit the bank, and to never make their visits publicly known. It’s best to do these things with another person, and avoid making deposits on high-risk days, such as the Monday after month end.  
Make sure that you are totally covered for any eventuality this holiday season. Get affordable insurance today
See how much you can save.  

The SAPS Gears Up To Tackle Crime

Last month, the Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi addressed the Safer Festive Season campaign crowd in Cape Town. He stated that the South African Police Service is geared up to deal with the spike in crime. The police have vowed to make their presence felt in the malls and on the beaches, working hand in hand with the metro police officials. They’ll be prioritising the closing down of illegal shebeens and continue their hunt for unlicensed firearms.
“We know that during this month, criminals go all out to attack the cash-in-transit vehicles because they are fundraising for December,” said Mkongi. “We must squeeze them, we know most of them are armed and we must understand who is arming them.”
The SAPS have deployed a number of highly visible law enforcement teams that are focusing on numerous critical areas. These include house and business robberies, vehicle hijacking, crimes against women, children and vulnerable persons, enforcing road safety, etc. With the school holidays in full swing, we need to keep a hawk’s eye on our children. In the instances of violent crimes increasing over December, the involvement of drugs and alcohol is almost always present and illegal weapons are often used to commit them. Not only does crime increase, but accidents on the road also see an alarming upsurge during the holiday season. It’s important to stay sober when you’re behind the wheel, and be aware of other drivers who may be intoxicated. Communities and individuals have an imperative role to play in acting responsibly, reporting crimes and remaining vigilant. For those about to leave on holiday, make your arrangements well in advance, and then head out with peace of mind.