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Most universities and colleges will go to great lengths to ensure the protection of their students. Visual reminders of this include campus cameras, Campus Security and various building safety measures. Safety, however, goes beyond relying on these external measures. It includes taking the initiative to safeguard your own protection. So, before heading off to university, we suggest familiarising yourself with these crucial student safety tips:

STUDENT safety tip #1

Distribute your class schedule with your family and CLOSE network of friends. This will create a type of buddy system where those closest to you are made aware of your daily whereabouts. Make sure that your parents and friends all have each other numbers too in case of emergency! 

STUDENT Safety tip #2

Do not give your student card or room key to ANYONE. And we really do mean no anyone. Keys can be copied and used to access your room without your consent. Individuals may also use your student card to access various areas of campus, endangering both you and fellow students. 

STUDENT safety tip #3

Every university has a security office and full-time Campus Security that forms part of your tuition. Make use of this resource and ensure that you know where their offices are located on campus. Your university website will also provide you with their emergency numbers. Familiarise yourself with their offerings which might include:

–          Campus Security escort service

–          University safety apps

–          Emergency phone stations

–          Campus maps 

STUDENT safety tip #4

Very few things are more empowering than self-defence and situational awareness. It will have you feeling more confident and most importantly, feeling a little safer. No, you don’t need to be aiming for a black belt, but rather basic, yet effective, self-defence moves. Make sure to check out any local self-defence classes in your area.

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #5

Always have a few safety supplies on your person. This could be a little bottle of pepper spray or a mini taser. This should be kept in an easily accessible place so you can grab it at any time! We suggest adding it either to your keychain or to a lanyard that hangs under your shirt. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #6

When it comes to safety tips – this one is important – ALWAYS lock your room door. Even if you are just heading out for a few minutes. If your room is located on the first floor, make sure to also lock your windows. Keep all valuables safe in a locked drawer or hidden safe. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #7

Social media is a fantastic platform to keep up to date with friends and family. This space is also a breeding ground for predators. Steer clear of geotagging your photos or revealing your exact location. We suggest taking the time out to do a full social media safety audit

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #8

Before getting into your car, always check your wheels. A common tactic amongst criminals is to place sharp objects into your tyres, ensuring that you are unable to drive far distances. When approaching your vehicle, walk at a slight angle, assessing if any predators are potentially already in your car. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #9

Venturing to a new part of campus? Make sure to familiarise yourself with the area using your campus map. Always walk with confidence and hide all electronics that will distract you and make you an easier target. 

STUDENT SAFETY TIP #10

Should you be a victim of ANY crime, notify both the police and Campus Security. Reporting the incident will help authorities mitigate future risks. Your university also maintains strong relations with local police, who will be able to help assist in future.

These simple precautions are not only cost-effective but easy to apply in your daily life. Student safety remains a priority, so take responsibility for your personal security by employing these tips today!

In this world, kindness and compassion are often hard to come by but you still get some people who are a little too nice. While this is a commendable quality to have and you should never lose your kind and thoughtful traits, there are some situations where being too nice can really affect your safety. This is when being more assertive will benefit you.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re uncomfortable and unhappy but you feel too timid or shy to change the situation you’re in?

When is being too nice not okay

When you’re out and having a good time with friends or even if you’re at a shop running errands, if you find yourself in a risky situation, you need to do something. 

There are some situations that warrant your kind nature but when you find someone is being too pushy or has invaded your space, there is no need to be passive. Most of the time in these cases, if you do not stand your ground and make it clear that you don’t appreciate the advances, the attention or you just need some space, something far worse can take place. 

Criminals prey on those they deem as weak and vulnerable and if you make yourself appear that way, you run the risk of being preyed up. “Niceness” can make you an easier target to be taken advantage of, controlled, and even emotionally, physically and sexually abused. It can also prevent you from standing up for yourself, even in situations that aren’t very dangerous. 

Why do we feel we need to be nice? 

Sometimes we’re more concerned with what others think of us than what we think of ourselves. We’re more worried about making someone feel bad or causing a scene than we are with asserting ourselves. 

Often, we’re even more concerned about giving people the benefit of the doubt and thinking their intentions may not be impure rather trusting our own perceptions. 

This is something that is ingrained in many of us. Rather be polite than have to deal with confrontation but eventually (or sooner rather than later) this is going to a detriment to your safety. It might be time to learn to be a little more assertive and how to do it without feeling bad. 

How to be more assertive 

assertive

There is no such thing as being ‘too rude’ when your life is in potential danger. If you’re uncomfortable or feel like someone has invaded your personal space, you should:

  • Stand tall and with confidence
  • Tell them how you feel and assert yourself
  • If the situation does not change, remove yourself

This might be easier said than done, for many people, this is more difficult than it sounds. What we suggest is trying to remain cognisant of the fact that you will probably never see this person again (if they’re a stranger) or if they’re someone you know, consider whether or not this is someone you actually need in your life. 

You should never feel like you HAVE to stay in any situation, you shouldn’t worry about appearing rude or impolite – your personal safety comes first!

Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. You’re telling yourself and the person threatening your safety that you matter and you will not accept how you’re being treated. Always keep in mind that creating a scene is always a deterrent and appearing confident will keep potential predators at bay anyway.

How to deliver your message the correct way 

Remember, it’s not just what you say but also how you say it that’s important. 

Assertive communication is direct, clear and can be stern. If you communicate in a way that’s too passive, your message may get lost because people will underestimate your seriousness or find it easy to walk over you. 

Our top tips would be for you to:

  1. Keep your emotions in check:

Being overly emotional, crying or panicking can take away from the message you’re delivering. You have every right to be stern and even raise your voice if necessary (this will garner some attention) but try and remain in control of the situation. 

Do not show that you are scared or intimidated, remain calm on the outside, be serious in what you have to say and make yourself heard without compromising yourself. 

  • 2. Use body language: 

Your body language says everything. By simply turning your back to the situation/person and keeping your stance even, your back and shoulders upright, you immediately appear more confident and in control. If this doesn’t deter the person, remove yourself from the situation. Under no circumstances do you need to stay somewhere or with someone who is threatening your safety and security. 

Becoming more assertive can be difficult but it can really add to your safety. It might seem like ‘no big deal’ but being too nice can land you in situations you never intended to be in. If your safety and security is something of concern to you, if you need a risk assessment or if you require some advice on how to increase your security, we’re always here

The Power of Visualisation goes beyond what you might think.

Finding yourself in a risky or threatening situation is a terrifying moment. Your mind can easily go into overdrive. A clear mind and logical thinking can quickly go out the window which can easily escalate the situation at hand. Even though this is a difficult situation to handle and there is no way to predict what will happen, there are ways you can try to reduce the risk of something happening or a situation becoming more volatile. 

It is vital to your safety to understand that there is more you can do to protect yourself that goes beyond your physical protection. Unfortunately, in South Africa in this day and age, this is becoming more and more important for women to focus on. 

Sexual Crime Statistics in South Africa

The statistics on crimes relating to sex and involving women are terrifying. An article in The Citizen summarised some of the crime statistics in South Africa from 2018-2019. 

According to this article, a sexual offence is a broad crime category that includes rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, bestiality, statutory rape and the sexual grooming of children.  In 2018/19, the number of reported sexual offences increased from 50 108 (in 2017/18) to 52 420. Sadly, the majority of these were cases of rape.

Total sexual offences recorded in South Africa in 2018/19

Rape: 41 583

Sexual assault: 7 437

Attempted sexual offences: 2 146

Contact sexual offences: 1 254

Total: 52 420

Looking at these statistics, finding ways to defend yourself is the only way to make sure you will be safe. This is when the power of visualisation becomes an important asset. Learning how to control a situation rather than fight it can sometimes be more beneficial. 

What is the power of visualisation? 

The power of visualisation doesn’t always mean visualising how you want to achieve your goals and visualising your five-year plan. In this instance, the power of visualisation consists of but using the power of visualisation to perceive and predict possible situations that can happen before they do. 

This is about taking note of absolutely everything around you. It might sound odd or a little over dramatic but being completely aware of the people and potential threats that surround you can save you from a very dangerous situation. The true power of visualisation comes from not only seeing a potential threat but from imagining how you would get yourself out of the situation before it’s even happened yet.

How to use the power of visualisation

It’s terrifying never knowing what may or may not happen to you. We live in a constant state of fear that at any given time, we may come into harm’s way.

These visualisation and awareness techniques could potentially help you avoid a risky or unsafe situation:

SLAM 

  • Stop: we’re so busy that we don’t actually take note of what’s going on around us. This is where you are cognizant of your surroundings and the people within them.    
  • Look: once you’ve had the time to stop, you need to look at each and every person in your close proximity, what they could potentially do and their possible intentions.   
  • Assess: once you’ve identified possible threats, this is when you can assess the situation and see what you’re going to do and how you can protect yourself.
  • Manage: this may be the hardest part but this is when you need to manage how you feel, take a breath and decide how you’re doing to manage the situation and prevent it before it happens.

Use your intuition 

Sometimes your gut feeling is right. Use your intuition to avoid threatening situations. For example, your intuition will probably tell you it’s not safe to go out alone at night, this makes you vulnerable. Thus, you would have avoided a risky situation by listening to your gut instinct.

Learn to know what to look for 

Often criminals have tell-tale signs, you need to learn to identify these characteristics and how to avoid unsafe circumstances.

This could be in the sense of how someone is dressed (are they possibly concealing something or are they hiding an element of themselves). How people are acting is also a big indicator, are they behaving slightly erratic or are they being a little sketchy? 

By identifying worrying traits in others, you can identify how to avoid a situation easier. 

Focus on your own body language and reactions 

You need to always appear confident and in control – this is a deterrent. And even though it is very difficult, you need to focus on keeping your mind clear and alert without feeling the need to make irrational decisions. 

The SLAM concept can help you manage the way that you’re thinking and feeling. By taking a moment to assess what is going on around you, you give yourself the time to manage your own thought process and the reactions associated with this.  

We know that it is difficult to manage the outcome of every situation so it is still important to learn how to protect yourself. 

How to protect yourself

In this day and age, it is imperative that you keep yourself safe and reduce your own level of risk. This can be done by:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings – stay vigilant
  • Never pull over when someone points at your car, claiming that something is wrong
  • Always remember to lock your doors when driving or when you’re home alone
  • Limit distractions in parking lots – put your phone away
  • Never leave your bag or personal belongings unattended
  • Make eye contact with other pedestrians
  • Hit the body parts that are the most tender if you have to defend yourself against an attacker – their weaknesses are your strength

Keep in mind though, no matter how many self-defence classes you go to and no matter how hard you try to physically prepare yourself for a situation, your mind is a powerful thing. If your mind is erratic, it will be impossible to think clearly about to manage a situation. Learning about the power of visualisation and how to mentally prepare yourself for a situation will make the world of difference. For more information on how to maximise your safety and security, feel free to contact us.

Recently, the current affairs in South Africa have raised some serious flags. Femicide, missing children, protests and xenophobia plague social media posts and news headlines around the country. 

To say South Africa is in a sad state of affairs is an understatement but we’re taking a look at what is happening, how you can keep safe during this time and possibly even make a change.

The current affairs

The current affairs topics seem to centre around four main headlines – femicide, missing children, protests and xenophobia.  

Femicide 

By definition, femicide is the killing of females (being an adult or child) due to their gender. 

The murder statistics in South Africa are terrifying. Statistics from 2017/2018 show that 20 336 people were murdered of which 16 421 deaths were adult men and 2 930 were adult men. This may raise questions of why the outrage about women who were murdered if the amount is significantly lower? 

The answer to this is that the vast majority of women who are murdered are murdered by men and are murdered because they’re women. Men are murdered (more often than not) by men and these murders are not always related to sex crimes nor are they based on gender. 

According to an article by News24, South Africa is rated third in the world with the highest femicide rates. This is something deeply concerning and the safety of women all over our country is constantly in jeopardy. This is why it is vital that important safety measures are known, such as; 

  • Use apps like Life360 and Namola; Life360 is a location-sharing app where you can manage which ‘circles’ of friends and family you wish to share your location with. The Namola app is a South Africa-specific emergency app that allows you to send emergency responders your location and details when you’re in a dangerous situation. You can also share your location with a close loved one on this app.   
  • Keep a can of pepper spray on you (in your bag, in your car, as you walk).
  • Use a GPS to avoid getting lost in unfamiliar places.
  • Always let a friend or family member know where you are, where you are going and when you have arrived – it may sound pedantic but this could be what saves your life.
  • Limit distractions like checking your phone while walking to or from your car.
  • Avoid waiting in your car, driving with the windows open and keep the doors locked.

Missing Children

The rate that children are going missing in South Africa is devastating. This is a horrific thought for parents. There are multiple children missing in South Africa with one case in particular that went viral. A  6-year-old girl was kidnapped in front of her school right in front of her mother. A R 2 million ransom was demanded but due to the attention the case had garnered, the little girl was returned by the kidnappers. This is just one case with a happy ending but this is not the case in most instances. 

Some tips to keep your children safe include;

  • Never leave your child alone in public areas.
  • At social functions and public places like schools, places of worship or anywhere else, write your cell number on the inside of the child’s’ forearm.
  • Teach your child your contact numbers in case they need to get a hold of you.
  • You can buy your child a watch with a tracker inside, this way you can see where your children are, even when they’re not with you 

Protests 

South Africa has become known for its many protests and while these protests are done with due cause, they can spiral out of control.

It is essential to remain “in the know” on your current affairs and the unrest experienced by copious amounts of South Africans. Recently, protests on anti-femicide, poor service delivery and xenophobia are plaguing the streets. It is important to stay safe if you’re close to these protests;

  • Social media can help you find out about various activities
  • Check your usual route before you leave the house to ensure it’s clear
  • While you’re driving, make sure there are no hazards on the road and avoid areas where protests are taking place. 

Xenophobia

Xenophobic violence against Africans in South Africa is spreading and becoming increasingly violent. According to an article by the Mail & Guardian, “outbreak of mob violence and xenophobia was allegedly orchestrated by members of the All Truck Drivers Forum (ATDF), which held mass meetings that went into last weekend in different parts of Gauteng.”

The violence is widespread and has led to the burning and looting of various stores throughout the country and unnecessary harm to many people. 

The xenophobic attacks put South Africa in a terrible light internationally and have generated retaliation from the individuals who are under attack. The best solution is for the government to step in and take control of the situation but until then, it would be best to avoid areas where there is known unrest and to do your best to stay safe during these trying times. 

South Africa is in desperate need of intervention, the country is in a horrible state of disarray and the safety of many South African lives are at risk. Keep safe but if you feel at risk or need any advice on how to enhance your safety, feel free to contact us

Making your safety and security a priority doesn’t need to be a great effort or expense. There are small changes you can make that will make a big difference to your safety and security. This article outlines some tips and tricks that will keep you safe at all times. 

By being conscious of your surroundings and ensuring you are as careful as you can be, you can avoid multiple unnecessarily dangerous situations. 

Tiny Safety tips that will make a big difference

These tips may seem obvious or even a little redundant but they can really help you get out of or avoid some sticky situations. 

Remote jamming

Car remote jamming is a big trend in South Africa. This is when thieves use a remote device to block or jam the locking mechanism in vehicles. It’s so popular because it is a simple and uncomplicated crime to commit. It is difficult to detect with perpetrators leaving quickly before they can be apprehended. 

This means it’s very important to check that your doors are locked before leaving your vehicle. 

Check your doors

 Before you leave your house, you should always ensure all doors and windows are locked. This may sound obvious but it’s very easy for anyone to forget, especially if you’re in a hurry. Next time you leave the house, make a conscious effort to ensure everything is locked to avoid easy access for potential criminals.  

Taxi Services

Using online apps like Uber or Taxify is a convenient way to get from A to B. This is a safer alternative to you driving if you plan on drinking alcohol. 

Be more observant

When you’re stopped at a traffic light, walking in the mall or even out for a run, it is vital to always make sure you are aware of your surroundings. 

When you’re out and about, you can easily fall victim to pickpockets, smash and grabs or something far more dangerous. 

Valuables 

safety

Keep your valuables out of sight and out of reach at all times.

When you’re in the car, don’t keep your handbag or laptop on the seat next to you. Rather keep them in the boot of your car. Don’t leave your cellphone in plain sight either. It’s very easy for criminals to smash your window or reach in and grab your phone. 

When you’re running errands, don’t keep your phone in your back pocket and make sure your valuables are kept close to you. 

Stay in contact 

If you’re planning on going anywhere, even if it’s just to the store, it is wise to let someone know where you’re going.  

If anything happens to you, it would be easier for someone close to you to know something may be wrong if they were aware of where you’re supposed to be. This sounds incredibly tedious but it can truly benefit you in a crisis. 

Why is this important for your safety 

safety

It may sound overly cautious to constantly check that your doors are locked and that your valuables are out of sight or even just to let a loved one know where you are most of the day but these small changes can have a huge impact. 

In today’s society, you can never be too cautious or too safe, it’s a necessity to overthink your safety. This may seem like obvious advice but you’d be surprised and what can happen when something so trivial is overlooked.    

The scary truth behind violent attacks related to taxi services

Travel safety is a genuine no matter who you are. But for C-suite individuals and executives, driving yourself to important meetings or to the airport isn’t always feasible or safe which is when secure transport services become a necessity. Finding a service that is convenient, reliable, cost-effective and safe is not as simple as it sounds. It is difficult to find a company that can tick all of your boxes and meet your requirements. Travel safety

Recently, services like Uber and Taxify have become a popular choice but often these services infringe on your travel safety. These apps are an easy and convenient way for virtually anyone to find a mode of transportation whenever they need it – it’s simply a click away. But what happens when convenience becomes catastrophic?

Attacks on Uber/Taxify Drivers

Travel safety

As the popularity of these services grow, so does the threat on their competition. This has caused a dangerous ripple effect where Uber and Taxify drivers have been subjects of horrific hate crimes. Reports indicate that competitor taxi services attack Uber or Taxify drivers to scare them into not operating anymore.

This is a means of ensuring they are the only taxi service on the market. These taxi services usually don’t have an app that makes it convenient for any individual to find them and quickly make a booking. The attack on taxi drivers is a terrifying prospect for their passengers who simply want to get to their destination in a safe and timely manner. Now you’re always unsure as to whether your taxi will be under attack or not. For C-suite individuals, this uncertainty of if your driver will be attacked or not is incredibly daunting. A c-suite individual may have more to offer an attacker than just a scare tactic on the driver.

Driver orchestrated attacks

 Not only do passengers have to worry if their drivers will be under attack but crime reports have also stated that many attacks are orchestrated by the Uber/Taxify drivers themselves. When a potential driver signs up to become an Uber or Taxify driver, they’re supposed to go through a thorough vetting process.

Background checks, safety screenings and driver competency tests are supposed to be done but it seems that sometimes a snake slithers through the cracks. Reports have shown that there’s often someone hiding in the boot of the car before you get in. The driver will then take you to a different location and both individuals will attempt to rob you of your valuables or get you to withdraw money from your bank account.

Often these attacks are more malicious where women are reported to have been sexually assaulted. Countless reports have indicated that c-suite individuals are the most vulnerable, especially when travelling to the airport. Sometimes the blame for these attacks cannot be put directly on the taxi service.

Some opportunistic criminals have caught on to the idea of pretending to be taxi drivers to lure potential victims in. Not only this, but these taxi drivers have also caught onto a new trend. Most of the time, these drivers fetch you directly from your house, they have your address, they know what your home looks like and now they know that no one is home.

For wealthier individuals, the luxuries they’re able to afford themselves become prevalent to the driver. They will take the opportunity to go back to your home, sometimes with their friends, and will break in and steal whatever they can. The risk on your life, your family and your possessions is too great for you to use these taxi services.

How to ensure you travel safely

There are some things you can do to ensure you are safe while travelling with one of these taxi services. These include;

  • Check the car registration matches with the registration on the app
  • Make sure the driver’s picture and the name is the same as the person picking you up
  • Ask the driver to repeat your name to you
  • Check the boot of the vehicle before getting in
  • Clearly state where you want to go and ensure the route is adhered to
  • Don’t let them come straight to your front door
  • Give your Uber driver an honest rating at the end of the ride – not everyone deserves 5 stars

The safest option for c-suite and executive individuals would be to contact an executive security company to assist you with safe and secure travel management.

Secure travel management

The ultimate way of ensuring your safety is to have us handle your vehicle travel arrangements. Our deep understanding of the areas, situations and threats place us in a unique position. We are able to provide a secure environment for our clients.Travel safety The secure travel solutions we offer begin with a clear understanding of the type of travel you require.

Whether it be business or leisure, the risks associated with the location and other elements of the itinerary will be identified and analysed. We accomplish this by conducting a country assessment and risk analysis. Specific travel planning and contingencies are based on this analysis. Some of our solutions available include pre-travel advance work, secure journey management and personnel tracking.

Secure airport transfers

Airport transfers can become one of the most challenging elements in a planned trip. This can be due to increased criminal activity, political unrest or logistical requirements. We provide Secure airport transfers as well as permanent security drivers. This will give you peace of mind while you travel in either high-risk areas or unfamiliar routes. Our highly trained drivers will ensure you arrive at your destination safely. 

Contact us and let us handle your vehicular travel needs to ensure your travel safety. We are inconspicuous and will ensure you reach your destination without a hitch.