The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) said it has seen enough in the past months with regards to the current crime surge and as such, has issued a security tips bulletin to its members.
The bulletin advises that retail shops, supermarkets and other outlets should not allow persons, especially in groups, to enter their premises in full face, ski-type masks or hats with “hoodies.”
DOMA head Gregory Aboud, stated: “We are advising of new criminal strategies, including the use of daytime hours, groups of at least three and four participants, face masks and hats, to help you be aware of the methods at use against you and to remind you again that your awareness and vigilance will help to protect you until this present threat has passed.
“Be aware also that lawlessness knows no geographic bounds in our country. Your experiences may be very equal in seriousness across all strata of our country and you can share information with staff and employees because everyone is facing similar risks.”
DOMA added, “We have seen enough in the past months and received enough information to appreciate that our country is in the midst of another sustained crime surge. This is not the first time that we have experienced this but, in the instant case, it is more serious because of the brutality of the incidents and the prevalence of multiple handguns during the attacks.
“Greater than the tragedies which we have witnessed in the past weeks would be the misfortune of not sharing the information which we have collated and ensuring that any further innocent life is lost due to our failure to share this information.”
DOMA urged members to mobilise and be prepared for any eventuality.
“Common sense is a powerful shield. Don’t be fearful, be organised. As with all of the security messages that we send, we ask that you please use the above information constructively and with discretion,” it said.
The DOMA Security measures are:
• Daytime hours should not give the same sense of security as previously applied and, based on events, may actually be a greater period of risk than night-time.
• Cars/vehicles circulating slowly in your neighbourhood with four persons in full face masks and oftentimes, hoodies and hats, should cause immediate evasive action. Go inside, secure your gates/doors/compound and utilise an airhorn if such individuals circle/scout more than once or twice. Call your security or 999 if in doubt.
*The sight of a car with engine running with multiple persons or only a driver present, and in proximity to your residential or commercial premises, should cause an immediate heightened alert level.
*The protocol described at 2 and 3 above should also be observed by security gate personnel at commercial compounds, warehouses, factories and remote commercial districts.
*Retail shops, supermarkets and other outlets should not allow persons, especially in groups, to enter their premises in full-face, ski-type masks or hats with hoodies. Those who use open umbrellas when entering premises or approaching security personnel should be asked to close such umbrellas immediately.
* No assumption of bona fides should be made regarding vehicles with multiple occupants with tools or gardening implements that are circling your location.
*Small cars, many times models such as “Tiida,” “Accent” and “Aqua” with three or more occupants, parked near to you, in shopping mall lots, in neighbourhoods, outside supermarkets, laundries etc, should immediately arouse suspicion and you should not return to your vehicle without alerting nearby persons or waiting until the vehicle leaves. This is relevant to daytime and night-time.
*Be aware that in events over the past weeks, the prevalence of firearm usage by the groups described above has increased. In more and more cases two, sometimes three participants are in possession of handguns. This factor requires a calm but heightened awareness of the need for more space wherever you happen to be. Keep your distance from suspicious persons, especially persons moving in groups.
* Based on past experience, we can say that in almost all criminal activity, the perpetrators are as interested in their escape path as in their point of entry. An important strategy of defence is to restrict alternate exits. You should survey areas along the side of your premises and especially backyards and rear of compounds. Try to fortify these areas with the intention of frustrating or preventing an alternate escape route. Premises adjacent to drains, alleys and traces should, where possible, separate the front and rear of the premises with gates or fences to divide the premises and restrict alternate escape routes. Neighbourhoods should immediately consider restricting entry and exit to only one point in the neighbourhood.