Be Vigilant When Visiting Airports

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Most people love being at the airport, whether it is to pick up someone they love, drop someone off or travel to a new destination. The airport brings about a sense of adventure, connection and joy. However, over the past few months, airport safety has become a concern.

Numerous airport-related crimes, including follow-home robberies and fatal shootings, are occurring regularly, targeting unsuspecting airport travellers. Often travellers read about airport crimes, but fail to remember such incidents while travelling in and around the airport. “Most people that fly in to an airport are usually tired and eager to get home. However, it’s important for travellers to exercise caution at this time. People need to stay alert of their surroundings and be aware of suspicious behaviour. For example, if you think you are being followed from the airport contact your security company or drive to a police station,” says Ron Knott-Craig, director of operations at Tracker South Africa.

Safety precautions when visiting the airport:

At the airport

  • Make sure your bags and luggage have locks and name tags.
  • Never leave your bags unattended.
  • Do not allow strangers to interfere with your bags.
  • When seeking directions, proceed to marked information counters only.
  • Do not tell strangers where you stay or will be staying.
  • Avoid displaying valuable items such as jewellery, cash and devices by locking them into your baggage.
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry.
  • Do not talk about the valuables you are carrying during telephone conversations where people can overhear you.
  • Be especially vigilant when arriving on an evening flight – criminals are known to hang out at the airport and follow travellers home.

Travelling to and from the airport

  • Check your location. Know where you’re going. Make sure you have the directions ready before embarking on your journey.
  • Vehicle check. Ensure that the vehicle you will be travelling in is roadworthy and has sufficient fuel. You would not want your vehicle to get stuck in a deserted or unfamiliar  area.
  • Be aware. While driving, be vigilant about where you are and your surroundings. Even looking alert may be enough to dissuade potential criminals.
  • Scout around. Have your car keys ready when approaching the vehicle and check the back seat before getting into your car.
  • Watch your tail. If you think you’re being followed by another vehicle, glance over your shoulder or adjust your rear-view mirror towards them. This alone is often enough to persuade your would-be attackers to leave you alone. If not, either head for a police station or drive to a busy area.
  • No stopping. Be weary of stopping on the side of the road, particularly if you are alone, in a quiet area or at night. Drive to a place of safety, if possible. Also, when approaching a red traffic light, especially at night or dark areas, slow down so that you only reach the traffic light when it turns green.
  • Lock it up. Always keep your vehicle doors locked and windows closed. Valuables are better kept in the boot or under the seats.
  • Helping hand. Find out if your security company has a follow-me-home service and use it if you feel uncomfortable.
  • The home stretch. We tend to let our guard down the closer we get to home. Make sure you turn your radio off and minimise all distractions, so that you are alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Testing. Regularly test your tracking device to make sure it’s working, including the “assist button” if your device has one. Your insurance company can refute a claim if the device is not working properly.
  • Transport service. Make sure that the taxi (meter taxi, Uber, private) you are taking is the correct one. Check the registration of the car and the identification of the driver. Most importantly, always do a quick check of the whole car before getting in.
  • Communicating with strangers. Do not offer lifts to strangers at the airport, even if they say they are going in the same direction as you. In addition, avoid accepting lifts from strangers. Do not stop to interact with strangers in the parking lot especially if there is no security in sight.

Remember to be cautious at all times when travelling to and from the airport and most importantly at the airport itself.

Related article: Five international travel scams

Source: Tracker. Image: Pixabay

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