The spate of crime has been on the increase in recent times and it may likely get worse as Christmas approaches. A friend was recently telling me about her experience with a friend on Gbagada Expressway. They had a flat tire and while trying to fix it, they got robbed. Even after robbing them the robber attempted to throw her on the expressway so she can be crushed by on coming vehicles! I still can’t get over Kunbi’s story.
Not too long ago my sister’s screen was smashed in broad day light as they attempted to rob her of God knows what! Ireti Doyle’s attack was in the news recently. It has been crazy in recent times to say the least. It’s almost like we should all just stay indoors.
The serious traffic experienced lately seemed to be the first and major culprit behind the increase in the prevalence of road robbery. Areas such as Mile 2, Ijora, Marina, CMS, Costain, Surulere, Ojota, Ogudu, Osborne and Oshodi have reported the highest cases of robbery incidences. From these reports, it is suggested that these incidences typically occur between 5.30am and 6.30am in the morning, and between 7.30pm and 10.00pm at night.
While we may look on to the Government for security and God for ultimate protection, we have the responsibility of being cautious. We owe it to ourselves to take certain precautionary measures in order to protect families and ourselves whether we are home, on the road or at the work place.
Find below some useful tips to stay safe this season.
Personal security is not about hiring a personal bodyguard but about making conscious and concerted effort to ensure our personal safety in most situations. They could include the following:
- Don’t give out your address or phone number unless you know whom you’re giving it to and are prepared to have them keep that information.
- If you have any diagnosed medical conditions or allergies, please have a medical bracelet that identifies those concerns, as the bracelet will speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Be extra careful when using ATM machines. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and don’t count your money in public.
- Protect all your passwords; computer, phones, email accounts, bank code, PIN numbers, anything that requires a password! Don’t be ashamed to cover with your hand if need be.
- Always inform family or friends if you are traveling, and give them itinerary dates and locations you will visit.
- Constantly use all your senses. Visually scan your surroundings, listen to the noises around you.
- Trust your gut and instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you feel uncomfortable in any situation, leave.
- Wear clothes and shoes that allow freedom of movement.
- Don’t show off jewelry or money. This is the time to be as conservative as possible.
- Watch your surroundings and be alert for suspicious persons, especially around banks, stores, street and your car or home.
ROAD SAFETY TIPS
- Try NOT to go out alone at night. Avoid unfamiliar areas, if possible.
- Always check the back seat of your car before getting in to be sure nothing is lurking in there.
- Don’t drive right up to the bumper of the car in front of you at a red light. Leave enough room to maneuver out of your lane in case there is a robbery attempt and you have to get away from there.
- Don’t give or accept rides from strangers and don’t respond to comments from strangers on the street.
- Do not use mobile devices including cell phones, iPads, laptops etc while in traffic.
- Always lock your doors while driving.
- Endeavour to take only licensed cabs. Avoid private cabs for now.
- Always keep your car in gear when stopped at a traffic signal or stop sign, so if threatened in any way, you can quickly drive away. Never switch of your car engine in traffic.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic whenever possible, to avoid curb crawlers.
- Avoid driving alone if possible – lone drivers are more vulnerable to attack.
- Avoid being on a cell phone while walking on the road or with ear buds in your ears (listening to music) – which dulls the awareness of your surroundings – that makes you an easier target.
- Walk or drive through only well-lit, well-traveled routes. Avoid dark, vacant or deserted areas.
- Avoid bringing down your window to shop from street hawkers while in traffic.
- In the event of a minor accident stop only in a well-lit area. Carjackers and thieves often provoke such “accidents” just to get a victim to stop. Do NOT stop on a deserted, dark street. Drive to a police station or a gas station.
- Do not be easily distracted by your ‘smart phone’ (e.g. ‘texting’). Keep your head up.
- Stay with a group whenever possible while travelling on foot. Try never to walk alone.
- Never leave anything visible in your car. Hide them under the seats or lock them in the trunk.
- Perhaps it may not be totally out of place to suggest that we keep some little cash and cheap phone or a decoy bag handy in an event we are caught up in traffic and they strike, we at least have something to offer them.
A follow up article will look at safety tips for our homes and social media. Watch out!