Safety tips on to how to avoid being kidnapped and what to do if you find yourself in a kidnapping situation
By Emma Sacco
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 11 of VARSITY News.
While South Africa has been battling against the Covid-19 Coronavirus for nearly eight months now, there has been another issue that has recently been on the rise: kidnapping. A recent attempted kidnapping video has gone viral, as CCTV footage shows a man leaping over a balustrade at a restaurant and grabbing a small child, attempting to pull her away from her caretakers.
Thankfully this man was unsuccessful, as many citizens took part in preventing him from snatching the child. However, members from Missing Children South Africa are now urging women and children to be especially vigilant as kidnapping statistics continue to rise in South Africa.
It is important to stay safe and alert as you go about your day, as kidnappings can occur at any time and can happen to anyone.
Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:
- When travelling, try to stay in groups of two or more
- When partying and drinking with friends at night, go to the bathroom in groups of two or more and make sure to always watch your drink to prevent it from being spiked
- Do not accept car rides offered by strangers
- Do not walk around on the streets alone at night, even if you do think that your neighbourhood is safe
- Be aware of your surroundings, and if you sense that someone may be following you walk towards an area where there are a lot of people
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return home
- Arm yourself by carrying pepper spray, a concealable knife or a taser
What to do if you find yourself in a kidnapping situation:
- If you are in a public place whilst being kidnapped, make as much noise as possible and shout to strangers for their help
- Put up a fight: if the kidnapper is unable to take you without attracting attention from other people, they are likely to leave you alone and search for an easier target
- When defending yourself against your kidnapper, use your elbow and knees to target the weakest area, which is the groin, nose or the eyes
- Look for anything around you that you could throw at your attacker– even if it is just sand or gravel– aim for the eyes in order to disorientate your attacker, giving yourself a chance to run away
- Once you have managed to get away from your kidnapper, run towards a well-populated area and draw attention to yourself so that people know that you are in danger and can help you.
Important contacts to keep close by at all times:
Nationwide Emergency Response: 10111
Ambulance Response: 10177
SAPS Cape Town Central Phone Number: 021 467 8078