It was often said during the Covid-19 pandemic that masks made it even easier for criminals to blend in. This was true to a degree, but we all know criminals are so brazen they often make no effort to conceal their identity and do not care if their faces are captured on CCTV – which is ironic since no criminal wants to get caught and go to jail.
Charnel Hattingh, group head of marketing and communications at Fidelity ADT, says this arrogance can be a criminal’s downfall and the police need victims to take advantage of this by looking out for distinguishing facial and other features.
“Even if a criminal’s face is mostly concealed, there are still things that can give them away and help the police compile a good identikit. Taking note of distinguishing features is an important way to help catch criminals.”
She adds that it is always best to avoid becoming a victim of a crime by taking charge of your safety.
“There are no guarantees, but actively turning your thoughts and actions towards crime prevention can help lower the chances of ending up having to give the police a description of perpetrators because you were a victim of crime.”
However, the sad reality is that the current crime levels in the country leave us all vulnerable.
“The best thing victims can do when confronted by criminals is, firstly, to stay calm and follow instructions and, secondly, discreetly gather as many features about the perpetrators as possible to pass onto the police,” Hattingh says.
These are some things to take note of that could provide unique clues for the police investigation:
• Estimated age and build.
• Clothing and shoes.
• Hair and jewellery.
• Tattoos and scars.
• Things like teeth (a gold tooth) and hands (maybe missing a finger).
What to look out for when reporting suspicious vehicles:
• The type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, hatchback).
• Paint colour (two-tone, drop-top).
• Number of occupants.
• Scratched paint, cracked or chipped windows, tinted windows.
• Make and model.
• Dings and dents, broken lights or mirrors.
• Rims, tires, mags.
• What the car sounds like.
“Understandably, the experience of falling victim to crime is traumatic and people may, therefore, question how easy it is to stay calm and focus on these features,” Hattingh says. “We have often also experienced that two people in the same room at the time a crime is committed have completely different recollections of what happened and what the criminals looked like.”
In this regard, she simply urges that people bear in mind the importance of their account to the police in bringing criminals to book.
“With accurate details, the police and local security companies can act immediately, like putting out a BOLO (be on the lookout) or calling for backup. As the person who was closest to the perpetrators, the police will rely heavily on the information you can provide them to make a successful arrest,” Hattingh concludes.
For more information contact Fidelity Services Group, email@example.com, www.fidelity-services.com / www.adt.co.za
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