The excitement of new beginnings brought about by a new year can be extinguished by the fear of being a victim of crime.

New car – what if I get hijacked? New job – is it in a secure area where I can burn the midnight oil and still feel safe driving back home? New flat – what if someone breaks in while I’m sleeping at night?

This is not just catastrophic thinking, but a reality of living in South Africa where crime rates have increased even more since the pandemic.

Warrant Officer Clifton Williams from Makhanda shares the do’s and don’ts for if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situations of being alone at home and you discover there’s an intruder inside.

The do’s

  • Try to stay calm

“As a human, the natural thing to do when you realise something suspicious is going on at your door – and realise that the person on the other side is someone you don’t know, who clearly doesn’t have good intentions – is to panic. But try by all means to calm yourself down, that’s the first thing.”

Stay silent

“Be silent and stay out of view. But, if possible, you need to have a view of the perpetrator who has invaded your house. Get your phone and call the police. If you have a panic button, use it, as silently as possible.

“If you live with a flatmate, try to alert the other person silently. If you can’t call the police, text someone like your complex security or someone who you know you can rely on. Your life could depend on it.”

Vacate the premises and leave your valuables behind

“Once you’ve realised the perpetrator is strong-willed, get yourself into a safe place. That will buy you enough time to come up with an exit plan. You’d rather exit the place, especially if the person is armed. You can always replace your stuff later, especially if your items are insured.”

The don’ts

Don’t scream

“If, for example, you live with one other person in your apartment, it’s natural to panic and scream to let the other person know what’s going on. Don’t do that.

“That will alert the perpetrator to where you are in the house and give them other ideas, especially if their intention was just to grab a few things and go.”

Don’t hide in obvious places

“Don’t go to places where the perpetrator where they can easily spot you, like hiding by a curtain that’s by the window.”

Buy yourself time

“If you live in a one-bedroom apartment where you have limited options, rather lock yourself in your room or bathroom. It’s all about buying yourself some time. Even if the perpetrator tries to unlock at least it will take longer, giving the police or security time to get there.”

Try not to antagonize them

“If for example, the perpetrator has got you in a situation where you are face to face, the perpetrator wants to most likely use you as a source of information, since you know where everything is.

“The best thing you can do is to keep cooperating. Being cheeky will only make the perpetrator more aggressive. And you have to remember he is already panicking because he knows he’s doing something he shouldn’t be doing.”


sourced from: News24