The follow home criminal activity at OR Tambo is very much in the news right now, following massive media exposure and a segment on Carte Blanche.
What was initially thought of as a crime of opportunity was exposed as a big criminal ring with multiple layers.
It basically starts with a spotter, which helps the criminals spot tourists with valuable luggage as they make their way through the airport. These unfortunate people are then followed and robbed once they arrive at their home.
ACSA is working on the problem and it is helping the SAPS in its investigation into this matter, but it’s no small feat considering the fact that around 35 000 people are directly and indirectly employed by the various airports across South Africa.
To keep yourself safe during the upcoming holiday season, follow these easy tips provided by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.
- Always make use of a reliable and reputable transfer/shuttle service.
- Also ensure the transfer/shuttle service provider is aware of the possibility that they might be followed on their way to the hotel. They should therefore be on the lookout for any suspicious vehicles and let you know if they suspect that they might be followed. If concerned they need to immediately phone through to the hotel staff who can then alert security and their Police sector vehicle or the Police station.
- When you are expecting to have a high volume of guests, inform your Police Sector Manager so that the police vehicle can drive around more regularly in the area of your hotel and therefore increase police visibility.
- If you have a high level delegation arriving it may be important to appoint additional security or alert the Police to increase visibility in the area.
- Please make sure your security and front office personnel are fully briefed as to what to do in an emergency situation and have emergency contact numbers ready. Thus have the emergency numbers displayed clearly and visibly close to telephones and on office notice boards. These should include your Police Sector Vehicle, your Police Station’s telephone as well as your Private Security Provider. If you are using a transfer company all details should be on hand.
- Ensure all staff are fully briefed on how best to manage guests and their requirements. They will be traumatised and require counselling if an incident has taken place. Often luggage, passports etc. have also been lost and this will need to be sorted out quickly. We suggest each hotel draws up its own customised protocol with all relevant procedures and numbers and this is made available to all staff.