Safety Awareness at Home


A high fence around the house with lockable gates is much safer than a high wall due to the advantage of the improved visibility it provides. Palisade fencing is a better choice so you can see in before you arrive and see out when at home. Wooden /Cladding/ slats in-between the palisade make for better privacy, but still give you the advantage of sight in and out of your perimeter.

The primary aim of the fence is to make access/intrusion difficult and to allow dogs to move freely around the house.

Ensure that your gates are locked at all times and that the keys cannot be reached easily and are not lying around uncontrolled. Get into good habits and teach them to everyone in the house.

Security gates with sturdy locks in front of each outer door as well as burglar proofing covering all windows are recommended. The burglar proofing is better when fitted on the inside of the aperture. For example, they will have to break the glass then get through the steel bars. This method should give you time to react to this situation.

The following devices prevent easy access:

  • Window bars -8-10mm round bar, don’t use square bar.
  • Security doors, with a proper frame work, Rawl bolted to the inside of the frame.
  • Security gates, with a proper frame work, Rawl bolted to the inside of the frame
  • Razor wire or other nicer looking measure to prevent an intruder climbing over the top of the wall. Electric fence connected to an alarm.
  • Additional locking devices on doors
  • Strengthening of doors
  • Peepholes in the doors
  • Safety chains or strong dead bolts work very well.
  • Intercom system between the home and gate, front door or garage.

Alarm Systems
An alarm system, preferably connected to an armed response company that can act to an alarm trigger, this can be an effective deterrent.

In the rural environment a siren/alarm on the roof that can be heard over a long distance and that can be activated by means of a switch/panic button in the house, is recommended.

A few switches/panic buttons in different rooms of the house should preferably be installed, aswell as a panic remote that can be placed anywhere in the house or garden.

Examples of alarm systems:

  • Mechanical and/or electrical (purchased types)
  • Improvised systems
  • Threaded tins
  • Threaded pieces of iron
  • Gravel around window panes, pathways or around the home.
  • Obstacles that can make a noise when moved, metal sounds will wake you and the dogs.
  • Biological alarm Systems:
    • Small dogs inside of the house as early warning, and larger dogs to sleep outside. Dog training will never go un-noticed and will add value to your home and family life.
    • Geese
    • Ostriches

Security Lights
Security lights on the outside of the house improve the physical protection of a house, farm or smallholding.

The lights must be directed away from the house and must allow the occupants to use the windows without being observed from outside.

Be aware of possible shadows and blind spots.

Safety Precautions
Ensure that all doors are locked at all times, and that windows are closed when you are not at home.

Large dogs serve as a deterrent. At least one dog should be trained to sleep inside the house.

If you leave your residence, inform your family/ neighbours of your intended destination, time you expect to return and the route you will be driving, especially if you reside in a rural area.

Ensure that tools such as axes, spades, picks, ladders, etc that can be used in an attack, are locked away when not in use.

Vary your daily routine, this is very important; criminals love to follow their targets to work, shopping, and home.

Get into the habit of not immediately falling asleep after switching off the lights; remain awake for a while to hear your surroundings. You should not be visible in the bedroom from the outside when you are asleep. Always keep a torch nearby at night and when you use it, ensure that you do not give away your position.

If you are unsure about the security status of your home after returning from work/a visit, e.g. your dogs do not come to the gate; do not enter your home. If there is anything out of the ordinary, don’t enter, chances are there is an intruder or they have been in your house.

Contact your security/Police or neighbour to assist you in securing your home.

Identify relatively safe places of refuge in the event of an attack or home invasion, i.e.: bathroom, toilet or storeroom with a proper lock to prevent them entering there. The fewer windows and doors these rooms have, the better.

Involve employees as they are part of the family/team, teach them the procedures in your home, it’s for their safety aswell. Employees must be involved in maintaining security on an equal footing.

Report suspicious behaviour and report that to the Police or Security Company.

Clear the areas around the front gates of the house, trim bushes and other hiding or dark areas where they can hide and surprise you when you arrive home.

Take photographs of all employees; make a copy of their ID Book for future reference. It could be to your advantage to identify them, if required.

Remunerate your employees when useful information is provided that contribute to the prevention of crime. Do not employ casual workers without a reference.

Ensure that you have a good relationship with your neighbours so that you will be in a good position to support and help each other.

Access and Key Control
Don’t allow strangers on your premises or in your house without having properly identifying the person, especially at night.

Implement proper key control measures.

Identify keys by means of codes instead of indicating in writing on labels to which gate/door access can be gained. E.g. Main gate- Code A.

Keys to the safe must be kept on the person. Never hide any keys in traditional places, such as in pot plants or under doormats.

Keys in the keyhole on the inside of the front or back door should be turned to avoid easy removal. It’s advised to remove them when not there. Intruders like to enter in a window and leave with all the keys from doors. Never allow strangers to handle keys or look at key numbers. Change locks when keys are lost, it does cost, but it must be done. Insert barring devices in door locks.

There should be two systems for alternative back up:

  • Telephone / Landline
  • Cellular phone or two, make sure they are with you and they are charged before bed.

Have the telephone installed where it is easily accessible from anywhere in the house.

Inform your children not to give an indication that adult supervision is not available when they answer the phone. Mom and Dad are always available when children are at home.

  • Be crime conscious - be aware of crime opportunities at all times.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Know all emergency numbers.
  • Trust your instinct and your feelings, so many people know and then do nothing.
  • Avoid talking to strangers.
  • Avoid going onto a congested street where you cannot even walk properly that is where you will find criminals pick pocketing.
  • Avoid displaying valuables where criminals can see them.
  • Walk in well-lit busy streets and in a group, if possible.
  • Keep your cellular phone away from the public eye.
  • Walk with purpose, not looking at your phone, keep your eyes on the road ahead.
  • If approached, move to the opposite side of the street.
  • If followed, go to nearest shop or area with lights and or camera’s.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in a good condition when you plan to go on a journey.
  • Ensure that the fuel tank of your vehicle always has sufficient fuel.
  • Always lock your vehicles doors and keep the windows closed.
  • Do not leave your vehicle unlocked, even if you think you will be away for only a minute.
  • Avoid stopping at remote places.
  • Park your vehicle in places that are well lit or protected with cameras or security guards.
  • If a stranger wants to talk to you while in your vehicle, do not open the window wide -only 5 cm is enough to have a discussion.
  • If something seems suspicious, do not talk to strangers, rather be rude and drive away.
  • Limit your trips at night or at least take someone along with you.
  • Vary the route you travel to work and back, if this is possible.
  • If approached by a stranger while in your car, drive off if possible or press your hooter to attract attention.
  • If strangers loiter near or at your driveway, rather drive past. If they loiter for a long time, report it to your nearest police station.
  • Car jackers may stage a minor accident so they can approach your car.
  • If your car is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual(s) involved in the situation, drive to the nearest police station for help.
  • Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything behind if forced from the car.
  • Your life is more valuable than your possessions.
  • Do not resist, especially if the thief has a weapon.
  • Give up your vehicle with no questions asked and move away.
  • A lift club limits the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
  • Do not give strangers a lift.
  • A gear lock is an affordable and a very effective anti-theft device.
  • If possible, put up a mirror against the front wall of your garage to see if someone is following you into the garage.
  • Do not open your garage doors before your gates are closed.
  • Avoid parking your motor vehicle where there are no security officers guarding other cars.
  • Do not leave your firearm in the motor vehicles glove compartment (cubbyhole) or anywhere in the vehicle when you park the vehicle, this is against the law!
  • Make sure that all the doors and windows are properly locked when you park your car.
  • Valuable items like a laptop and camera should be put in the boot of your car.
  • Be aware of people coming to you and informing you that you have a flat tire; the intention can be to steal items that they see inside the car or rob your car.
  • Always close your windows when driving in the city centre.
  • Do not open your windows for hawkers along the road and at the robots.
  • Keep the doors locked and windows closed at all times.
  • Do not use a cellular phone unless you have a hands-free kit.
  • At night, park in well-lit areas.
  • If in doubt about the safety of an area, phone a police station for advice.
  • Practice the same prevention skills you apply in parking lots.
  • Become familiar with your route before you start the trip.
  • Get a map of the route and study it or use a GPS.
  • Store luggage in the cars boot where it is out of sight.
  • Do not leave your handbag/briefcase visible in the car.
  • Do not leave your keys in the ignition.
  • Fit an alarm and/or anti-theft device in your car; make sure it’s working properly with a spare remote.
  • Have your keys ready in your hand as you approach your car, especially if they are difficult to find in your handbag.
  • Parking lots with parking attendants or supervision/ someone patrolling are best to park, otherwise try to park in locations that are well lit and/or well populated and not crowded by bushes or buildings where offenders might hide.

The followings aspects might trigger aggressive behaviour:

  • Following too close to the vehicle in front.
  • Passing vehicles on the right with speed.
  • Cutting in and out of traffic and failing to signal while engaging in multiple lane changes.
  • Crossing safety markings while merging onto ramps.
  • Failing to yield at ramps and intersections.
  • Violating railroad crossings.
  • Displaying or using a weapon.
  • Displaying aggressive or obscene gestures.
  • Slow moving traffic in fast lanes, etc.

The following hints are applicable:

  • Do not react to provocation.
  • Stay away from erratic drivers.
  • Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.
  • Use your hooter sparingly or not at all.
  • Do not flash your headlights.
  • Do not make obscene gestures.
  • Do not change lanes without using your indicator.
  • Do not drive too close to the vehicle in front of you.
  • Do not block lanes or slow traffic on purpose.

  • Never leave your bag or purse in your trolley in an open manner, close the bag properly and try or attach the strap to the handle of the trolley. Criminals love these easy targets.
  • Never leave your bag or wallet unattended on a shop counter - not even momentarily. Remember, that is when thieves pounce.
  • Beware of pickpockets and never keep your wallet in your back pocket.

  • Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM.
  • Never give your card or PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone, for any reason.
  • Don’t write your PIN on the card or anything that is kept with the card.
  • Do not insert your card until asked to do so by the display screen.
  • Never use an ATM with a blank screen and, if the ATM is obscured from view or poorly lit, leave immediately and find another ATM.
  • Stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as shield to make sure nobody sees you keying in your pin.
  • Also, make sure you keep your hand over the card slot to make sure nobody can swop or take your card.
  • Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of strangers asking for help.
  • Criminals work in teams- one to distract you while the other steals your card or money.
  • If your card is retained (swallowed) by the ATM it is advisable to phone your bank toll free stop card line immediately and stop your card.
  • Never allow a bystander to call the toll-free stop card line on your behalf- they could be tricking you into thinking your card has been stopped.
  • Guards are placed at ATMs to discourage criminal activities and therefore cannot help you with transactions. If you need help, ask a bank official.
  • It is advisable to set a daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch.

  • Explosions at Automated Tellers Machines (ATMs) are a new crime that reared its ugly head in 2006.
  • When approaching the ATM and it has been damaged, report to 10111 immediately in the following cases:
    • If an ATM has been damaged or if any unknown items protrude from it.
    • If smoke or flames are visible at or in the machine as this is a sure sign of a pending explosion, move away from the ATM immediately.
    • In case of suspicious activity/persons at or near an ATM
  • Once the charges have been activated there is nothing that can be done to deactivate the explosives.
  • Shrapnel and debris from an explosion can travel for several hundred metres.
  • People must be moved away as far as possible and take cover behind something solid, such as a building.

  • Do not leave a party or social event with someone you do not know or have just met.
  • You have the right to say NO.
  • No one has the right to force you into sexual activity, no matter what your relationship with this person is.
  • This means no-one can force you to have sex, or to touch you in a sexual way without your consent, or force you to perform sexual activities you find unpleasant or humiliating.
  • Be open with your parents, female schoolteacher or your friend if you came across or were made to, or asked to have sexual intercourse with a man without your consent.
  • Never hitch-hike, Do not walk alone at night.
  • Do not accept an offer of a lift from anybody you don’t already know.
  • Remember it is not your fault if you are sexually assaulted.
  • Do not allow anyone to touch you in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Be firm and clear and say NO! You have the right to do so.
  • At social events, do not leave your cold drinks or drinks unattended.
  • Ask friends to help you if you say NO!
  • Leave home and arrive in the group, stay in the group, don’t split up if possible.
  • Keep your phone charged and have all necessary numbers for emergency contacts to collect or drop off. Keep same spare cash to make a call or get a taxi etc.
  • Don’t keep quiet about anything that has happened, they will keep doing the same thing.

Sexual offences involve sex without consent, unwanted sexual touching, or being forced to engage in humiliating sexual activity. This includes girls and guys.

YOUR vulnerability increases -

  • in dark and deserted places at night;
  • if you look vulnerable (e.g. walking alone or with no purpose in desolate areas);
  • if you appear uncertain, for example if you do not know, then you are easy prey.
  • Not knowing where you are going
  • if you do not lock your car doors and close your windows;
  • if you talk to strangers;
  • if you stop for stranded vehicles or people; or
  • If your vehicle is faulty and you have to stop for help.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be alert at traffic lights and stop streets.
  • Walk close to the curb and face the on-coming traffic.
  • Try and keep to well-lit areas or where there are people.
  • Do not hitch-hike; do not pick up hitch-hikers.
  • Keep a whistle with you - and blow it if you need help.

At home

  • Do not allow a stranger into your home - even if he is delivering something or providing a service.
  • Ask for an identity document or phone his/her office to check his/her identity.
  • Invest in the best locks and security you can afford.
  • Never tell anyone that you are alone at home - and make sure the children also know not do so.
  • Know your neighbours - and together plan ahead for how you will respond in a crisis.
  • Know your local police station - and discuss safety matters with the police.
  • Become involved with local crime prevention efforts with the community police forum or police.

On a date

  • Do not allow anyone to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Be firm and clear and say NO!
  • Do not leave a party or social event with someone you do not know or have just met - say NO!
  • Ask friends for help if someone ignores you when you say NO!
  • Remember: Most rape victims know the rapist!!!
  • You have the right to say NO!

In a case of rape

  • Try not to panic.
  • Common sense is your best defence.
  • You cannot always defend yourself and your resistance may cause serious injury.
  • If the attacker is dangerous, cooperate and try to negotiate.
  • Submission is not consent.
  • Try and remember what the attacker looks like - age, race, height, hair colour, scars, tattoos, clothes, voice, jewellery.
  • Scream, yell, blow your whistle or run away if you possibly can.
  • Do not bath or change your clothes after an attack, look for professional straight away.
  • Keep all the evidence so that it can be used by the police for further investigation.
  • Report the crime to the Police Service straight away: go to the police station or phone 10111.

After a rape
Every victim of rape responds differently - but it is likely that you will benefit from help.

You may feel -

  • dirty and want to wash repeatedly;
  • scared and afraid to go out;
  • that it is your fault and that you are guilty; or
  • You cannot sleep, have nightmares, cannot eat, cannot stop crying or that you want to forget it as quickly as possible and get on with your life.

None of these responses are unusual or unnatural; remember that there is always someone to help you. Victim Support programmes, psychologists, counsellors, health care or social workers, employers, friends, family or church members - ask the police official dealing with your case to recommend someone to help you.

What happens when you report a rape (or other sexual offences)?
The police official will take your statement. You need not be alone - a friend or family member can be with you while you make your statement, as long as he or she is not a potential witness in your case.

If you later feel that your statement is wrong or incomplete, you can make another statement.

You can make your statement in your own language (if it may be translated).

You have the right to copy your statement. It may sometimes not be possible to get a copy immediately, but you can get it later.

The police official will give you a case number and you must use this number whenever you want information about your case. If necessary, the investigating officer will make sure you are examined by an accredited health care worker, who will complete a medical report and collect medical evidence.

You must make sure that the investigating officer knows how and where to contact you at all times, including when you move to another location, but it is a victim’s responsibility to notify the police official of any changes of address.

The investigating officer will let you know -

  • when the suspect is arrested;
  • if the suspect is released on bail;
  • if you need to attend an identification parade;
  • the date of the trial;
  • when you will have to give evidence; and
  • The outcome of the case.

A victim must have the responsible police official’s telephone number so that he/she knows where to get information about his/her case.

The police investigate the case and then hand it over to a state lawyer called a prosecutor. The service is free to you.

The police official, the investigating officer and the prosecutor will be able to give you information about your case.

Get a telephone number from the investigating officer so that you know where to get information about your case.

What can we all do to help?

  • Join community-based Victim Support initiatives; be trained as a Volunteer.
  • Report rape - and help others to report rape.
  • Do not protect rapists - do not hide them in your home or community - tell the police about them.
  • Bring up your boys to be real men - real men respect women and real men do not rape.
  • Join the community forums and give your local information
  • Attend some kind of self-Defence class.
  • Get firearms training if a firearm is present in the house.
  • Don’t be complacent of your surroundings.
  • Don't be a victim of abuse, violence, attacks, rape, robbery, burglary.

Who can I contact?

Contact your local police station or :
SAPS Emergency Services 10111
SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, Head Office, Pretoria (012) 393-2363
SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111
Women Abuse Helpline 0800 150 150
Childline 0800 055 555
AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322 or
(011) 725 6710

Contact us for a short one day course for the family or ladies who want to be more aware of their surroundings.

This course includes theory and a practical component, anyone can join in.