27 Nov 2008 - Story by Catherine Sasman
Article Views (non-unique): 1180
WINDHOEK - Many Windhoek residents leave town during the Christmas season, leaving their homes and other assets vulnerable to criminals.
There are, however, things people can do to minimise the chances of housebreaking and other criminal attacks over the silly season.
Remember, always be vigilant and prepared. You do not have to be an easy target.
Here are some tips security experts shared with New Era.
Before you go on holiday
- If you have a security system installed in your house, notify the control room of the security company you are signed up to.
- Test your alarm system on time.
- Ensure that your insurance is paid up and that everything is included in the policy. Make sure that your property is valuated frequently to prevent under-insurance.
- Remember to make arrangements for your garden and pets.
- Check your passport if you leave the country.
- Make sure that your vehicle is serviced and roadworthy before you get on the road.
- Lock up your property, make sure all your pets are outside and not locked in the house, and lock up all tools and equipment that can be used by prospective burglars.
- If you have any, make sure that all firearms or other weapons are locked away.
Secure your property
- Make sure that your property is clearly numbered.
- Never open the door to a stranger.
- If the premises is not secured with an electric fence, lock security gates once you are inside.
- Windows that are opened should have burglar bars, unless the property is secured by an electric fence. Either way, it is always safer to secure your windows as well.
- Illuminate dark areas.
- Always check the references of new households or gardeners.
- Always lock up your house properly, switch on your alarm system, even if you only go away for a short period of time.
- Take a good look around before (re)entering the premises.
- In case of an attack and where appropriate, rather use pepper gas than a firearm. The latter can be used against you and can be fatal.
Safety tips for the family
- Keep away from dark alleys when you go out at night.
- Find out about the safety situation of an area when you are a newcomer to a town or city.
- Ladies should always carry handbags and/or purses close to their person.
- Never leave valuable items in your vehicle for all to see.
- Always lock your car doors. If strangers approach you, drive away immediately and press the horn.
- If you are followed, drive to the nearest police station, or police- or security vehicle. Never drive to your house where you may be more vulnerable to an attack.
- Have your keys ready when you approach your vehicle.
- Children should never talk to strangers.
- Explain to children that a molester looks like any other person.
Should you be attacked
- Stay calm, think logically and evaluate the situation.
- Do not try to oppose the attacker, except if you can escape safely. Give him/her what they want.
- If you can defend yourself safely, go for the sensitive areas, for example, the eyes, throat, or groin. Make a lot of noise.
- Get a good description of the attacker.
- Try to leave clues behind if you are taken away.
- Be a good negotiator and try to talk yourself out of the situation.
Have a safe Christmas 2008!