According to News24, Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, recently released the crime stats for the 2014/15 period.

A few of the key points are as follows:

-    Murder rates have increased by 4.6% over the last financial year, with 782 more cases reported.
-    Police arrested 1.7 million people through crime prevention.
-    Contact crime (against a person) decreased by 17.9% over 10 years but there was a slight increase of 0.9% for this past financial year.
-    Contact-related crimes (against property) decreased by 15.6% over 10 years but there was a slight increase of 1.9% for this year.
-    Property-related crime decreased by 2.3% over the last 10 years and decreased by 0.8% for this year.

According to Stats SA, the crimes most feared by communities are housebreaking/burglary, followed by home robbery and street robbery.

National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, says crimes against women and children remain a priority. She also says that the SAPS is continuing to work hard to stop crime.

But how can you protect yourself, your home and your loved ones from harm? If someone is dead set on harming you, there is little you can do to avoid it, but there are a few things you can do to decrease your likelihood of being attacked:

Use technology to keep yourself safe
Often go out on your own late at night? Sometimes feel a bit nervous about walking around certain areas alone? One of these 5 apps could help keep you safe, and alert a family member or the police to your whereabouts or if you feel unsafe. Have a look, here.

Think about how secure your home really is
Have you assessed its weak points? Is your house secure from the border of your property all the way in? Do you have enough light around your home? Burglar bars? Read more about securing your home, here.

Protect your home from break-ins
If you’re going on holiday, get a neighbour to use your bin. Get automatic timers, or get someone to house-sit. If you have an alarm, put the security signage in obvious places around the outside of your home so potential burglars can see you’re not an easy target. Read more about breaking down break-ins, here.

Think like a burglar
How do you outsmart a criminal? Think like them. As they say in the movies, case out the joint. Try all the access points. Clear up any garden furniture that could aid them in breaking into your house. Got new neighbours? Walk over and introduce yourself. Offer to watch their place if they watch yours. Read more about outsmarting burglars, here.

If you’re selling your home, make sure it’s secure even on open days
If you’re putting your house on the market, be aware that open house viewings leaves the homes more vulnerable to theft, showing your home to strangers when you’re trying to sell it increases your security risk. Learn how to lower your risk, here.

Find a home security system that suits your lifestyle
Whether you travel a lot or are a bit of a homebody, having a good security system is important. Find out where you should put your security panel, how many points of entry you should protect, and all about mobile control, here.

Even the most careful citizen can be a victim of crime. So if it does happen to you, remember, you are not to blame. Seek the necessary trauma counseling to help you on the road to healing.

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