Captain Mali Govender of the South African Police Service offers residents and businesses of Makhanda and Port Alfred some holiday safety tips.
When you buy via the internet, ensure you use reputable stores and don’t make deals with individuals you don’t know. Victims find items being sold for unbelievably low prices over the internet. They contact the seller via the internet and make a purchase, only to find that the seller demands more and more cash deposits. The unsuspecting buyer loses all the money they’ve paid and gets nothing for it. Verify bank details and the seller’s details before you pay. It’s very difficult for the police to trace the seller through an advert or a temporary bank account. In most cases, once the money has been paid, the seller closes the account. Buying second-hand electronic equipment online can land you with an item that’s non-functional and with no guarantee.
There is no quick and easy way of making money. Schemes have also surfaced where the victim deposits cash into an account and expects to receive interest. This is a scam! Use an institution that is controlled by the National Credit Regulator before investing your money in it.
Do not hand over your bank card and identity documents to a loan shark. SAPS regularly receives reports of money lent illegally at exorbitant interest rates. Use an institution controlled by the National Credit regulator.
It’s the responsibility of stock owners to brand their animals. SAPS officers stop vehicles transporting cattle at roadblocks, and vehicle check points. The law is clear that the driver of a vehicle transporting cattle must be in possession of a permit and the cattle must be branded. Zero tolerance for non-compliance means the driver will be arrested for possession of suspected stolen stock and the cattle will be seized and impounded.
An upturn in shoplifting means you need to increase security in your store. These criminals, who incur considerable losses, often work in groups and are skilled at distracting staff and managers and diverting their attention. While SAPS has made several arrests, these criminals find new and creative ways of stealing.
Thefts by opportunists are a reality. The police conduct high visibility and foot patrols in the CBD, on beaches and residential areas and the community can assist in ensuring that opportunities are not created.
Don’t leave valuables unattended in cars and accommodation venues. Lock them away when you’re out. When you leave your home, ensure the doors and windows are closed and locked.
If you are leaving your home during the holidays
Test your alarm system. Inform your security company you’ll be away. Book your home in the SAPS Vacant House Register. Make arrangements to have your mail picked up. Make a list of all valuable items and their serial numbers.
At the beach, at the pool
Don’t swim when you’ve been drinking. For important information about children’s safety near water, please read these tips from Child Welfare Grahamstown.
Police on patrol
Port Alfred Cluster Commander Brigadier Morgan Govender says the police there are working closely with other emergency services. Expect roadblocks, vehicle check points, high visibility patrols throughout the town including the malls and residential areas.
On New Year’s Day SAPS will have additional personnel to patrol the beaches. In Port Alfred, and the surrounding coastal towns, traffic will be diverted to accommodate the large numbers of people who will come to enjoy the sea.
“During this season, all emergency services will be on duty 24/7; however, we urge you to also take responsibility for your safety,” Brigadier Govender said.