It’s that time of the week again where people have lots of plans to have nothing but fun. The weekends are the much anticipated days for every socially-characterized person. It is not only two days off but two more days to catch up on the long week that was.
While all plans may be to have fun on weekends, the streets of Windhoek have also recently earned the label as the city where revellers must take extra care in regards safety of the streets especially after sunset. Some unfortunate shortcomings are inevitable but it always helps to be cautious for one’s safety when going out at night.
It is almost a trend that on every weekend, someone is robbed off their cellphone while partying. They also may be taken advantage due to their alcohol intake or the car is broken into, a laptop is taken or a house is broken into and in worst cases – someone is stabbed during a heated argument or an attempted robbery.
As such, it becomes very imperative that while planning to have a blast of a weekend, safety should also be part of the plans. From the car, house, drinks and keeping an eye on the environment where one is having a good company.
According to City Police Public Relations Officer Fabian Amukwelele, safety precautions may seem petty initially but remain important to avoid being prey to the night unfortunates.
If you are driving, avoid parking on the street, and never leave anything of value visible in your vehicle. Fabian advises drivers to leave their valuables either under the seat or in the boot to avoid attracting thieves to break into their cars. Where one parks their car also plays a role. “It is very imperative to park your vehicle inside a yard. Always greet the people when you park your vehicle because in an event someone tries to come by your car, these people might stop.”
Otherwise, he advises that drivers never leave the car doors unlocked, even if they are still in the car. A common ploy is for one guy to distract you while another opens one of the other doors, grabs a bag and runs away.
“Also, when driving at night, avoid talking to people that you do not know at intersections. And if you go broke, avoid driving to an ATM that is in isolation.” Alternatively, try to be with someone whom you can leave the car with when you go out and do something.
Go Cheap and In a Circle
One common case reported to the police almost every weekend it that of cellphone robbery. In most cases, victims are caught off guard only to realize that they are in the deep end of no return but to surrender their flashy cellphone. Fabian advises, “If you are going out, rather go with your simple phone and leave the expensive phone at home. It is better losing a cheap phone than losing an expensive phone that will take you another year to save up to buy.”
It has become common understanding that a single individual can be very vulnerable to the criminals than friends in a group. Fabian is of the opinion that when friends go out in a group, there is more safety with their belongings and this avoids drink-spiking. “When you go out, make sure you open your drink yourself. And when you leave for the bathroom, ask your friends to keep an eye on your drink.”
“Also, when you go to the bathroom, leave your cellphone with a friend. We have noticed that in most cases people are robbed when they go to the bathroom. The culprits will beat you up, take your valuables and run because no one can see. Isolated settings like the toilet can make you a victim. These guys will just be looking at you while seated and just wait for you to go to the bathroom.”
Fabian also advises that while having fun may be priority, people should also be mindful of how they are going to return home as the evening taxis can also be risky. “If you know that you are going out and you do not own a car, make sure that you make provisions for someone to come get you or do not stay for a long time. Not all public transports at night are safe because some are there for their illegal activities and you do not want to end up in the lion’s den.”
Do not tell the whole world
As seen on social media, it has become a habit that people go out to update their friends on social media of what they recently bought and their whereabouts. ‘Got my new IPhone 6.’ ‘Windhoek Chip out – Ongwediva Chip in.’
“Some people go on social media announcing where they will be going. Some of these criminals know where you live and it becomes easy for them to target your house. You even become an easy target when they know what valuable you have because you were just flaunting them on Facebook the other day. These are simple things when you look at it but people slowly but surely are making themselves targets.”
“The other common thing you would find is a person in the evening at Eveline Street showing off his expensive cellphone. The phone is in their hands for everyone to see. Little do they realize that the thieves too are looking and plotting how to get what you have.”
There’s a Drunk Driver on the road
Alcohol is by default considered as the stimuli to having fun. As such, when under the influence, drivers put not only their lives but those on the roads at risk. There has been many hit and run cases recorded and in many cases, there is alcohol that plays a major role.
“Pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Members of the public are unnecessarily speeding especially under the influence of alcohol. All of a sudden the driver wants to test the speed of his car and is not mindful that there may be person (who at most times are also under the influence) walking close to the roads. It is thus important to be very cautious at night because not every driver can see you.”
Safety is an important aspect that equally needs the same attention and consideration. The safest option is to simply stay indoors at night.