Stay safe during the festive season with these top tips

48121667 - burglar with crowbar to break door to enter the house

A cluster SAPS spokesperson, Constable Sibusiso Khuzwayo, said it has become the norm for Stokvel members to report cases of armed robbery at this time of the year.

It is once again that time of the year where stokvel groups will be dividing their money they have been saving for the whole year.

Sometimes one of the members will run away with the money or change the way they divide their money.

The money is usually divided just before or after the festive season, which is risky, as robbers are now aware of this.

He said they should avoid withdrawing a large amount of money from the bank, because criminals might follow them. “We encourage Stokvel members to divide by means of an individual bank account, where the money will equitably divide, and deposit it into the members’ personal accounts. They can then each access their money at a convenient time.”

Police are also encouraging residents to avoid doing their shopping during the busy days.

  • Be vigilant when using ATMs and never accept assistance from strangers.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Always know that a possible robber, man or woman, dresses smartly and they will not come masked.
  • Never buy in a manner that alerts criminals that you have loads of money; preferably get someone from home to accompany you.
  • Police are also concerned about the issue of valuables left exposed in vehicles. Put your laptops, cameras, iPads, cell-phones, drones and anything that is eye-catching in a bag or in the boot. Otherwise, your car is at risk of being broken into or stolen.
  • Never leave your car unattended for a long time in an isolated area where no one sees it and where security is not tight.
  • Be careful of the signal jammers that criminals use to jam your immobilizer when locking your car. Manually check the doors if they are properly locked.
  • Avoid key-holders sold to you, as they may be tracking devices used by robbers to follow carjacking victims.

Safety at your home

Khuzwayo said homeowners need to be aware of who will be visiting their homes when they are not present.

“Vehicles need to be parked in a safe place and keys should not be left lying around.”

“Know where your children are and check what gifts they receive from people, as they might fall victim to drugs and human trafficking.”

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Saish Motheram

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