The recently released police crime statistics paint a very scary picture. When Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed parliament, he read out a list of numbers that showed several violent crime categories increased dramatically. Cele released the crime statistics for January to March 2022, during a media briefing on Friday 2 June 2022.

“We have a big problem when it comes to crime, but there are small things that you and I can do to make a difference. It can help everyone be a bit safer than they were yesterday,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Communications and Marketing at Fidelity ADT.

It starts with awareness and vigilance, she adds.

“In our experience, most crimes are opportunistic in nature. Criminals are looking for quick and easy opportunities and they are attracted by soft targets. When you are out and about, you need to be alert to what is happening around you. Avoid any distractions such as running or walking with headphones in your ears. Pay attention if someone is following you,” says Hattingh.

This alertness and awareness can also assist when something goes wrong.

“If you are the victim of any kind of crime, you can help police and security partners by providing as detailed as possible a description of the assailant. What clothes were they wearing, did they speak with an accent, or did you notice any distinguishing facial or physical features? It is often useful to remember what shoes a suspect was wearing as they tend to discard their jacket or change shirts while they still wear the same shoes,” says Hattingh.

The last bit of advice is to get involved and become an active participant in your own safety. This she says can take any form, big or small.

“If you have a community or suburb safety initiative such as a neighbourhood watch, contact them to find out how you can help. This can range from becoming a patroller to even just making coffee for those volunteers who are on duty in the cold winter nights. Perhaps you can offer financial or other logistical support.

“If there are no community safety initiatives where you live, you can start one yourself. Collect the cell numbers of everyone in your street and form a WhatsApp or Telegram group where you share safety updates with one another. Your local SAPS or armed response company can also give you valuable tips on how to organise and become involved in your suburb’s safety,” says Hattingh.


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