By Adedotun Ajayi
The yuletide season is here, and you might be looking forward to your time off from work or a festive vacation. But, have you thought of protecting your home while being away or being busy with your festive celebrations?
Findings by The Hope revealed that crime rates in Nigeria is mostly on the high side particularly during yuletide period and has been on the increase in the past three years.
According to bureau of statistics the FCT, and Lagos state reported highest crime cases while Katsina state and Arabia had the lowest percentage share of the cases.
But Ondo state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu recently cried out on the increase in crime rate in the state. In recent weeks now, 16 persons including Market women, traders, civil servants and student had been kidnapped on the notorious Akure/Owo/Benin highways.
Also two weeks ago, a first class monarch, the Olufon of Ifon, in Ose local government area, Oba Israel Adewusi was brutally murdered at Elegbeka.
Between Christmas period and New Year’s Day, there is a significant increase in crime rates all over the world. Holidays should be a season of joy and song. It is a time to enjoy with family and friends.
People tend to carry more cash than usual around this season. Cars and homes are loaded with gifts for loved ones. A lot of people are usually out buying gifts for friends and family and goodies for thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Robbers are aware of this fact, and they take advantage of the situation.
According to Omoba Olatunji, a security personnel, said “When doing your holiday shopping this season, be sure to keep the following tips in mind. Don’t leave merchandise visible in your car, your wallet or whatever that might attract criminals, it only takes a second to smash a car window and make away with your valuables. Also be sure to keep an eye out for cars following you home, be security conscious at all times because thieves might spot you in the parking lot and then find out where you live so they can break into your house when they think you aren’t home. Is your home extremely dark or your lighting is poor? Make good use of the season by decorating your home with festive lights. Floodlights will also deter criminals from entering your home.
Unfortunately, women and the elderly are at the highest risk. Criminals view these individuals as the least likely to fight back.
He said people should be wary of online deals that seem too good to be true (e.g. immense discounts on products, Black Friday deals from an unfamiliar source) be sure before you put your money on it. Physical theft isn’t the only threat to consumers. Plenty of money can be lost to cybercrime. Do not give out your Bank verification Number (BVN) a legitimate online retailer will not ask for it, make sure you frequently check your bank statements to confirms your payments”. Don’t advertise yourself on social media, because social media is mainly a platform for networking don’t be fooled, not everyone on these platforms are friends. Avoid announcing to the world of your vacation destination and the fact that your house is empty. Do not use your newest items as your display photos for that will attract burglars to your home.
Omoba said “don’t let the spirit of the holiday season lull you into giving burglars and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else and chiefly because it’s an opportuned time for crime” Omoba stressed the need for people to protect themselves during festive period.
He said “there are some things you should be conscious of during this period, we need to avoid carrying a large amount of cash at hand, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses or wallets, be vigilant at all times i.e check your pocket at all times. Consider carrying a fanny pack around your waist with just the necessary items that you need for your shopping trip. Make sure you bring along another family member or a friend. Park in well lighted areas, especially where there are people to watch over your car, most especially government owned parking lots. Lock up everything in your trunk and do not leave any items inside your car. Scan the area from your car looking for persons acting suspicious or just sitting in their vehicles for no apparent reason.
In Ondo State, majority of the residents that spoke with The Hope said that criminal activities heighten in the state during Christmas and New Year periods, adding that in anticipation, they have started to take their personal security seriously.
A civil servant, Olaide Alade said: “Are you telling me I should wait till Christmas and new year periods before I become mindful of my personal security? That might be too late. Whether I am driving on the road or in the house or in the office, I take measures to ensure my safety.”On his part, Olaide said even though he had always paid attention to his personal security, he has taken extra measures to ensure he celebrates Christmas and New Year peacefully. Such measures, he revealed, included not staying late outside his home and also ensuring that he does not use the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in the night.
Olaide urged the government to beef up security this period so that everyone can enjoy the festive period.
He said “the government should tighten up security across the state, citizens should be rest assured that they are safe, more check points and patrols should be carried out frequently.”
Christmas and New Year celebrations come with attendant traffic challenges as a result of increased human and vehicular movement, over speeding, drunk driving, non-use of seat belt and crash helmets by motorcyclists, as well as other over bearing attitude of motorists, hence the need for a corresponding increase in road traffic policing to ensure the safety of the general public, particularly the public.