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Women’s month: security tips to keep women safe

August is women’s month in South Africa. We particularly note the 9th of August as Women’s Day because it was on that day in 1956 when over 20 000 women bravely marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against apartheid laws. Whilst women’s month is about celebrating the resilience, strength and courage of all South African women and noting how far we’ve come in transforming gender-based inequality, it’s also about zooming in on the pressing issues of gender-based violence and oppression in our country. We need to increase awareness of the issues women face, address safety challenges women experience and create safer environments for women. That’s why this month we’re specifically looking at security tips to keep women safe. Let’s honour the women of South Africa by protecting them.

Security tips to keep women safe this women’s month (and always)

  • Get perimeter security: if you can afford it, invest in the likes of high walls, electric fencing, cameras, beams and spotlights linked to an alarm system that will serve as an early warning in the event of an intrusion.
  • Get a dog (if possible): many burglars won’t enter properties with dogs. Even small dogs can be a deterrent as they tend to bark at strangers or unfamiliar sounds. However, you shouldn’t expect your dog/s to replace security or act as an alarm system.
  • Secure your front door: there are many reasons why you should get a solid security gate that is welded and fitted with a keyless locking system for rapid securing, but most important is that it is a quick way to put up a physical barrier between you and an intruder.
  • Don’t open for strangers: it’s a good idea to get a security camera and/or door peephole to view who is at your door. If you aren’t expecting anyone then don’t open the door for them.
  • Set up a panic alarm: it’s wise to get in touch with your security service to set up a panic alarm on your phone or a device that you can use in your car, in your home and when you’re out and about.
  • Learn self-defense: taking self-defense classes not only teaches you how to protect yourself, but it also improves confidence and self-esteem.  
  • Create a safety zone in your home: it’s vital to have a secure area in your home where you can run to and hide if there is ever an intruder in your home.
  • Install slamlock barriers in your home: there are many advantages of having retractable barriers in your home, and the slamlock functionality means that they can be slammed closed and locked instantaneously – because when an intruder is on your property, time is pivotal.
  • Burglar proof your windows: criminals often get into properties through windows, which is why it’s important to get all of them burglar proofed. There are a number of different ways to do this
  • Secure your balcony or patio: it’s important to burglar proof an apartment or flat as burglars often get in through the balcony, and patio doors are an easy entry point for burglars in homes.
  • Have a security checklist: it’s important to check the security that you have in place, e.g. are your security gates closed and locked.
  • Tell someone where you’re going: if you’re heading out, it’s a good idea to tell someone or message a loved one to let them know where you’re off to and roughly what time you’ll return.
  • Send your location: a great way to let your family or friends know exactly where you are is to send them your location, especially if you ever find yourself in an unsafe situation.
  • Keep car doors locked and windows up: when driving around, make sure your car doors are locked and your windows are up in an effort to prevent a smash and grab. Smash and grab tinting on your window is an additional precaution.
  • Hide valuable items from view: don’t leave handbags, laptops and any other valuable items in view of anyone who is looking into your vehicle or property. It’s also best to leave gold and diamond jewellery where it’s safe if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it. 
  • Have an emergency contact: in the event of an emergency, make sure you have at least one ICE (in case of emergency) contact saved on your phone, written down and/or memorised.   
  • Practise awareness: it’s important to make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings in public places, especially petrol stations and shopping centres, and when arriving at home, work or another property. 
  • Don’t overshare: it is best to avoid sharing too much information about yourself, your family and your friends. The more you share, the more criminals can learn about you. 
  • If you’re being followed, don’t go home: criminals can gain entry into your home via your garage door if you open it without being aware that someone has followed you. Avoid this happening by staying alert, not getting distracted (e.g. by your phone) and observing cars that may be following you.
  • Trust your gut: if you feel a little uncertain about a specific person or place then rather stay away.

Sadly, much of the gender-based violence experienced by women happens in the home at the hand of someone they know. We all play a part in protecting, educating and looking out for each other. Call 0800 428 428 or visit gbv.org.za to report gender-based violence. For practical advice on how to secure your home and additional security tips to keep women safe, contact the King Trellis team on 0861 659 235.

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