Towards a safe festive season
While we relax and unwind, it’s important to take safety precautions to ward off disasters.
Jasmine Atieno @sparkleMine
The festive season is here and parties, safaris and reunions are usual part of the celebrations.
However, this could be cut short by accidents, burglaries and other nasty incidences, yet we all want to cross the year safe and happily sound.
Group Human Resource/Customer Relation Manager, Texas Alarms, Benard Odhiambo Aduda warns of the unfortunate rise in crime since November and fear an escalation of the numbers over this month.
“Security is a partnership between three players; the customer, the security company/government agencies and the general public, all need to work together to contain crime.
Kenyans are known to be merry makers and will still want to maintain the same lifestyle, despite the tough economic times of Covid-19. So security has to remain a key responsibility,” he says.
His first advice goes to new home owners. “Change locks anytime you buy an apartment.
It is easy for your house to be raided if you are not the original owner of the locks.
Then know the custodians of your keys, including your maid and your watchman,” he says.
The expert also advises concealing of personal travel information, unless one feels the need to share the information with the senior management of their security providers.
Most of crimes that happen at homes this season are courtesy of people around us such as friends and neighbours.
You tell your friends you are travelling for Christmas or you announce it on social media by posting your vacation photos, and the next thing your house is raided.
Odhiambo urges apartment owners to vet people carefully before admitting them to their houses.
Because some of the tenants use the homes for businesses, which might trigger insecurity within the location.
“Some buildings get rented out as AirBnB without the owner’s knowledge, especially during the festive season when people are looking for cheap holiday accommodations.
Most criminals use these opportunities for hideouts. If you have good security providers, they can readily provide these details of who is in your house while you are away or without your knowledge.
Importantly, people need own locks, CCTVS and sensor alarms to safeguard their homes,” he adds.
On the road
According to road safety specialist, Owuor Otet, generally, more accidents are reported during this period. His projection this season is that things could get worse.
“Things are going to get worse, because mental health has been a serious issue since Covid-19 started.
By the time we reach December 31, the number of accidents may be higher. Currently, we report about seven in a day.
The authorities are playing their role, but they need to pull up their socks. Every passenger has a role to play.
Talk to the driver if he is not adhering to safety measures. And, with the ban on night travels, some drivers have been working back to back, which is overwhelming.
Drivers need to rest. Also, every vehicle has a speed limit, don’t go beyond the limit,” he advises.
In his observation, people are depressed and suicidal and some of them will be on the roads.
He warns all road users and, especially motor cycle riders to be careful when overtaking.
“People have the tendency to say that they know their cars well, but remember, you only know about your car and not about the car you want to overtake,” he adds.
While many people have lost money following the pandemic, and measures to contain coronavirus, such as social distancing may limit a lot of people gathering together, sociologist Zawadi Bella agrees that Kenyans love partying, and rules may be broken.
For everyone, be yourself. Don’t feel pressurised to do something out of character. He tells parents who have teenagers is to be watchful.
“We have had worrying trends of teenagers being involved in orgies, alcohol and drug abuse.
If we are not careful with teenagers, they might end up as school drop outs next year because they became drug addicts or got pregnant.
The curfew is in place and this is something that the police should have under control— it’s not just up to parents.
Also, while celebrating, lets still follow the regulations put in place because the pandemic has not gone on holiday,” shares the expert.
Do not carry large amounts of money. Withdraw your money in small amounts as soft theft is common during this period. No physical harm, no guns just simple robbery.
And be careful how you spend. “January is just two weeks away. There are bills to be paid.
People like to spend and give during the festive season, plan accordingly,” she says.