“Practice the buddy system”, said Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Corporate Communications Unit.
“This is one of the most important rules to avoid being abducted” said the Senior Cop.
If you must travel alone, follow these safety rules:
1. Always inform others of your whereabouts. Inform a trusted friend, relative or
colleague – give information about where you are going, who you intend to meet with and when you expect to return.
2. Keep a low profile. There are many ways to avoid highlighting your attractiveness to an abductor by downplaying on your financial status, dressing modestly, not wearing expensive jewellery and not openly carrying expensive electronics.
3. Watch your alcohol intake. The effects of alcohol can impair your judgement and make you less alert to your surroundings. Avoid accepting drinks from persons you are not familiar with.
4. If you go to a party never leave your drink unattended even in the company of persons you know and trust.
5. Carry a mobile phone. You can use it to text the licence plate information of the vehicle in which you are travelling to a trusted person. Remember to download the Ministry of National Security “Stay Alert” Application from the Google Play.
6. Avoid illegal ‘public’ transportation. Especially women travelling alone. Use an official taxi service or a reputable driver. If possible do not take a taxi with all male passengers especially in areas that you are not familiar with.
Before entering a taxi or any other vehicle take a picture of the car to include any words or images, registration plate and send it via text or other social media to a relative or a trusted friend.
It is best to let the driver of the taxi or car know that you are sending the information; it could serve as a deterrent. However, you could discretely take a picture of the driver and send it out as well.
7. Vary your pattern-of- life. Avoid setting patterns. If possible, take different routes to frequently visited locations, don’t travel at the same time of day or eat at different restaurants.
8. Never be afraid to scream. If you are being taken against your will, do not hesitate to scream for help and alert persons around you. Your attacker will be taken off guard.
9. Limit use of social media. Avoid advertising your every move on social media and be careful not to provide personal information to individuals you have never met in person.
10. False information puts lives at risk. Persons are also being asked to stop putting false information about abduction and missing persons in social media because it could amount to a ‘wolf, wolf’ situation and end up jeopardizing the safety of someone who is genuinely in need of assistance.
11. Lastly, always remember to trust your instincts and if it does not feel right, chances are it is not, so always err on the side of caution by acting as if something is wrong.