Following up with my chat with Al on the MixFM radio show Midrand Forum (Mondays at 19:00) here is a brief article to recap.
We all know about the unacceptable levels of crime in South Africa, a murder every 30 minutes (Afghanistan’s murder rate is 13 times less), a rape every 26 seconds, grievous bodily harm cases over 500 per day. The issue is we need to face up to the reality to avoid becoming a victim, saying that we need to strike a balance so we can have a life – we’re sensible but not paranoid.
The central key to this is not weapons or alarms; it’s seeing the threat before an attack. Virtually all attacks are preceded by some form of surveillance, as I always say, contrary to popular belief, these people don’t ‘come from nowhere’ we just don’t pick up the signs. Take a very obvious threat, cash in transit vehicles, they big, white, with armed men walking around, how many of us notice any of this and try to avoid them so as not to be caught up in a robbery? I have literally seen mothers with children having a chat in front of one!
We need to box cleverer than that.
Crime volunteer – at a robot, window open, on his iPhone – ‘they came from nowhere!’
It’s not necessary nor desirable to be in a paranoid state, if we take levels of awareness from 1 to 5, 1 being an attack has commenced, and 5 being totally unaware, we want to be at a level 4 – aware of your surroundings but relaxed, I like to equate it to a defensive driving mind set. By being at level 4 you are in a more receptive state and ‘soak up’ your environment.
Even if you don’t pick up everything, just by appearing to be observant is positive, as criminals would much rather have an easier target.
We did touch on some body language tips (much more to come in next month’s show) when at a robot for example look around and let anybody close by see you looking at them, with a non-aggressive blank type expression. Let them know that you know they’re there. Keep people away from your car by giving a firm hand signal to stop, you will find most will heed it (many will appreciate it) thereby lowering the number of people you need to keep an eye on.
If you’re by yourself and you want to use a legitimate car guard to help with your groceries choose one, keep anyone else back with a firm hand signal and a ‘no thanks’ and you keep your eye open while the goods are loaded, if you are with someone else, do the same routine.
Distance gives you time.
So keep people back, if they are on top of you it’s all over if their intentions are bad.