The onus is on us to keep ourselves and our families safe at all times
PREVENTION, it has always been said, is better than cure. With the recent spate of armed robberies and attacks in neighbourhoods and shopping malls, there is all the more reason why we need to be constantly on our guard. This simply means being alert and being aware of our surroundings. This advice has been repeated all too often but how many of us can honestly say we never take our safety for granted? Yes, we do it for a while when an abduction, rape or mugging happens close to home. We are all eyes and ears for the next few months but we just as easily take safety for granted again and slip into complacency the minute we feel safe.
As law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere every time, the onus is on us to keep ourselves and our families safe. We can avoid becoming a victim by taking simple, sensible precautions such as not walking alone, especially at night or in isolated places; not talking or texting on the phone as you are walking; being aware of your surroundings at all times and looking out for suspicious characters; holding your car keys before heading to your car; and locking your car doors the moment you get in and driving away as soon as you have started the engine. As an added measure, we could also arm ourselves with a can of pepper spray and a whistle.
Simple precautions that we can take at home or in our neighbourhood include switching on the porch and back lights at night, keeping the gate, grille and doors locked at all times, having a spy hole fitted to the front door, teaching our children to not open the door to strangers and even installing an alarm system or a closed-circuit television camera at home, if it's affordable.
Should you find yourself in a vulnerable position, throw your valuables away from you to distract the robber and run to the nearest safe spot or crowd. Experts also advise you to scream "fire" instead of "help" as the former is likely to grab more attention. Residents in housing estates should be encouraged to pool their resources and organise neighbourhood watch patrols. Get to know your neighbours so that you can look out for each other during an emergency. Having the telephone numbers of your immediate neighbours and the nearest police station keyed into your handphone also means that help is a phone call away. It's always better to be safe than sorry.