For many of us, the festive break is a time to relax and spend our well-deserved break with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, the festive season is also a period where there are an increased number of housebreakings, interpersonal violence and cases of missing children.
Minister Fritz said, “There is often a reported spike in housebreakings where homes are left unattended by home-owners and tenants who go on holiday or take part in recreational activities throughout the day. Steps to counter housebreakings include:
- Alerting your neighbourhood watch, local police station, security company, neighbours and street committees when you will be away – particularly if you are away for long periods;
- Leaving lights on to indicate that you are home; and
- Not leaving your refuse bin or paper deliveries to pile up whilst you are away.”
Minister Fritz said, “The City of Cape Town and the SAPS have activated their festive season safety plans. This includes a heightened approach to safety and preventing break-ins, greater police visibility and close coordination with other safety agencies including Metro Police and Neighbourhood Watches.”
“At the same time, I urge that we prioritise the safety of our children. Every precaution must be taken to protect them when enjoying beach days, family braais, hikes, movie days at home, shopping and camping trips. As parents and guardians, the duty falls upon you to keep your children safe. This includes teaching children about their personal safety. Your child must be taught to always keep all entrances and gates closed and locked, and that nobody can enter without permission from either parent or responsible adult. If you have a home security system installed, teach them how to activate and deactivate it, and to use other security devices like panic buttons,” said Minister Fritz.
Minister Fritz added, “Your children should also have a list of emergency contact numbers saved on their cell phones and available at home near the telephone or on the fridge. These numbers should include the local police station, emergency medical service, the emergency number for your neighbourhood watch, a trusted neighbour, and your private security company.”
Before visiting public spaces such as shopping malls, your children should know their vital information, including full names, home address and the contact details of one of their parents. In addition, children should be taught about:
- Stranger danger and sharing sensitive information, particularly over social media;
- An evacuation plan in case there is an emergency at home;
- Cooking and using kitchen appliances safely; and
- To stay with groups when out with friends.
Minister Fritz said, “Ultimately, each of us also has a responsibility to ensure safety within our communities and should continue to report crime and be vigilant, particularly over the festive break.”
Under the leadership of Minister Fritz, the Department of Community Safety remains committed to using every tool at its disposal to safeguard the citizens of the Western Cape over the festive season.