Being robbed is a devastating and invasive experience. And sadly, it is the norm of living in South Africa. Our country might be one of the most beautiful places in the world, but the crime puts more than a damper on life here. So it goes without saying that the chances of being caught up in an armed robbery is a lot more realistic than most of us would want to believe. Crime can affect anyone, regardless of race, background, age or gender.
Both locals just trying to get through their day and tourists hoping to explore and make happy memories, can end up targets. If what they are carrying or wearing can be taken and resold, even if it is resold for a fraction of the cost, a criminal will try their luck. Being vigilant is one thing but there is nothing much that can prepare you for an armed robbery. When you find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun, time stops. Your heart will be pounding in your ears, your mouth will go dry and you will hardly have a moment to think of anything but the gun in front of you.
Most crimes committed on the streets are petty, but that is not to say that all crimes are petty. South Africa continues to have a serious, unyielding problem with crime. And criminals can be very jumpy and irrational. Your life and the lives of your friends and family, are worth far more than any material possession you could own, even if that possession is sentimental.
Goods can be replaced; lives cannot.
If you don’t keep your head about you or should you try to escape the situation, you might end up dead. It sounds harsh, but we don’t have time to mince words. The more rationally you approach the situation, the better prepared you will be, and the better decisions you will make.
What to do if you are the unfortunate one involved
Keep your head about you
If you start to panic, the situation can go awry. The robber is functioning purely on adrenaline. They are nervous and possibly scared, even though they have the control over the situation.
Do as you are told
The faster you obey the robber, the quicker the situation will be over. If you are told not to move, then don’t move. Their priority is to make some quick money by robbing you and then selling what they have stolen. Give them what they want and let them go. And don’t be a hero, your life is not worth losing.
Make note of the details
Distinctive facial features, tattoos, scars, clothing, vehicle registrations, and even mannerisms can all help in identifying the person who has robbed you. Of course, trying to remember these things can feel next to impossible when you are in this situation, but you’d be amazed at what your mind remembers.
Many robberies go unreported; partly because people have no faith in the robbers being caught and partly because those robbed don’t have insurance so they feel it’s pointless. But each time a crime is not reported, robbers grow more confident in their actions.
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