2 December 2019

Festive season urges high alert following spate of violent crimes

Blue Security’s armed response officers are on high alert and the firm has warned business owners to be vigilant in the build up to the festive season following a spate of violent armed robberies across the greater Durban area in recent weeks.

Blue Security operations director Brian Jackson said Durban had hit by a spate of violent business robberies, the latest which claimed the life of a Pinetown businessman who was brutally murdered on his business premises this morning. The businessman was fatally stabbed during what appeared to be an armed robbery at an Ashley business premises.

Jackson said dangerous armed gangs had targeted malls and individual business premises seeking goods such as televisions, laptops, cellphones and clothes. “Our armed response officers are on high alert and our team is committed to working closely with the police and business owners to fight this crime scourge this festive season,” he said.

“We have also seen police and security firms make several arrests across the city recently and are working closely with the police not only to respond to crime scenes but to proactively police our business precinct through routine crime prevention initiatives,” Jackson said. However, Jackson said that despite the best policing efforts criminals continued to target businesses and this trend was expected to ramp up ahead of the festive season.

He offered business owners and the public the following five tips to stay safe this festive season.

Arriving and departing: Always be aware of your surroundings when you arrive at and leave your business premises. Make sure that there are no suspicious vehicles parked outside when you arrive and always stop parallel to the curb while waiting for the driveway gate to open. This will make it easy for you to drive off in a potential hijacking situation and it will prevent hijackers from being able to park behind your vehicle and jamming you in the driveway.

Cash and banking: Minimise the use of cash in your business. Vary the days and times that you conduct banking activities and try to do as many of your banking transactions electronically as possible. Vary the route that you travel to the bank and always take someone with you.

On the road: Crime statistics show that hijackers and armed robbers follow business owners and individuals either to rob them of cash when they are travelling back from an ATM or the bank or to hijack them outside their business premises. Be vigilant and alert when driving and if you get an uneasy feeling that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station and alert your security company.

At the mall: Armed and dangerous criminals are targeting shopping malls so it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself caught up near or at the scene of an armed robbery. The most important thing to remember is don’t try to be a hero, or make any sudden moves towards the scene, as this will make the criminals nervous and could lead to them firing shots at you especially if they suspect you may be armed. Rather, duck for cover behind a concrete pillar or behind your vehicle, lay low and stay as calm as possible. Don’t scream as this will draw attention to yourself and could also result in the criminals targeting you. If you notice any suspicious activity or vehicles parked at a mall, report what you have seen to the mall’s security.

At your premises: Ensure that your business and home CCTV cameras are in good working order, brief your domestic staff and employees on security procedures. Remind domestic staff especially, not to allow access to any contractors without first making sure that you are expecting workers on the property. And even then, make sure that you provide them with the name of the firm and the individual who will be arriving to do the work. Avoid fake meter readers and send your electricity readings directly to the municpality via SMS to 083 700 0819 with your account number, meter number and meter reading five days prior to your account date.

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