Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) has prepared a set of crime prevention tips to help reduce the South African crime spike prevalent at this time of year and increase vigilance and security measures in business and homes.
Weakest link: Do not make it easy for criminals to target your home or business. If you have sliding doors and open windows, beef up security with burglar bars or security gates. Remove keys from the doors, especially if these are accessible from a nearby window. Do not leave external facing doors or windows of any size open for animals.
Social functions: Have someone watch the front area and lock your front doors and gates once everyone has arrived - criminals are opportunists and they will just walk in, take what they want and leave without you even knowing.
Bogus salesmen: Alert your family and employees that criminals often pose as salesmen or utility workers who have come to fix one or other device. They will try their luck by pressing buzzers and intercoms in the hope that they will be allowed in. If the person has not made an appointment, do not allow him or her onto your premises.
Traffic ticket scam: Watch out for so-called enforcement officers calling from an undisclosed number and informing you that you have an outstanding traffic fine. The caller generally will "follow-up" and request you to purchase a "top up" voucher - you will need to SMS him or her the pin code as there is "a warrant for your arrest." Do not fall for anyone demanding you buy airtime from them. Check with the traffic department to see whether you have outstanding fines.
Employing gardeners and domestic workers: When employing new domestic workers ask for a copy of their ID, physical home address and details of their next of kin and keep this information on file. Do reference checks. Unfortunately, there have been well publicised recent cases of collaboration between the domestic workers and criminals. Try not to keep a specific routine in your household, vary times of leaving and returning to your premises, and keep strictly confidential information private.
Beware of smooth talkers who may be looking to con you out of your hard-earned cash or pensions. Shopping centres are a favourite hunting ground for criminals who prey on senior citizens. Their modus operandi is to offer unsuspecting victims big winnings if they enter a competition.
Another well-known con is to target people experiencing financial difficulties and offering them debt assistance in return for an upfront fee. Do not trust anyone who is offering to make you money or make your money problems disappear. There are no "get rich quick" schemes.
Do not give any of your personal or bank details to anyone over the phone without doing your own verification.
Be observant and aware of your surroundings when in the car or walking.
Conspicuous consumption attracts criminals. Store your shopping in your car boot. Hide valuables.
Do not be distracted by your cell phone. Rather switch it to silent.
Reject and report stolen goods
Do not buy stolen goods - you are incentivising criminals by providing a market for these goods. Petty criminals often move on to crimes that are more violent. Do not be part of the problem, be part of the solution.
When purchasing a cellphone, make sure that you lower the risk of purchasing a stolen cell phone. Vodacom offers a service to the consumer, to verify with the IMEI number of the phone, whether the handset is blacklisted or not. Dial 082124.
Receiving stolen goods is a crime, punishable by law. Reject any goods you suspect have been stolen and report such incidences to your nearest police station or to Crime Stop at 08600 10111.
Report fraud and corruption
Report fraud and corruption to the Public Service Commission's National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701 or to Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
Prevention of cellphone theft
When in your car or in a public place conceal your cellphone, do not leave it unattended. If you leave your cellphone in a bag in your gym locker, put it on silent so as not to attract unwanted attention from passers-by.
When in a public place only answer your cellphone when it is safe to do so.
Do not lend your phone to strangers needing to make a call.
Be aware of pickpockets.
If your cell phone is lost or stolen, report the loss to your service provider, who will block the SIM card to ensure that no further calls can be made and blacklist the handset to make it inactive. Keep your blacklisting reference number.
Inform the police, who will request the blacklisting reference number to open a case.
When on holiday
Ensure that your security company comes out to test your alarm system
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