Kidnapping? No, not in South Africa? In fACT, Kidnapping in South Africa is a common crime, with over 4,100 occurring in the 2013/2014 period, and a child going missing EVERY FIVE HOURS. It is not a highly publicized crime, which is a good thing because bad guys often get their ideas from the news (for example, the Crowbar gang has now become a popular theme for many groups of bad guys).
In Gauteng, police deal with over a dozen (sometimes as many as 20) kidnappings every month. This does not include abduction, where a child is taken by a parent or family member for safety reasons; kidnapping is when a child (or adult) is taken and held for ransom or sold for sex for slavery.
One of the ways best ways to prevent yourself or your child from becoming a victim of kidnapping is awareness. Teach yourself to look for suspicious people/vehicles, things that look odd or out of place.
At ACT Personal Safety, we divide “suspicious” into two easy to remember categories:
- Suspicions over time = “Didn’t I see that same car behind me yesterday?”
- Suspicious over distance = “Didn’t I see that person with his camera when I left the shop?”
Practice awareness and think about what you are going to do if you do spot something/someone suspicious.