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Personal security a must in SA – AA

South Africans remain concerned about their safety with 78% of citizens adding more security features to their homes to ensure their well-being in 2022. This is one of the findings of the Automobile Association’s (AA) 2022 State of Security Report (SoS Report) conducted in the first three months of the year.

In addition to reviewing current official crime statistics released by the government, researchers of the SoS Report also conducted a wide-ranging survey with 1473 respondents to determine direct feedback on personal security in South Africa. The study gauged the level of security experienced by South Africans before, during and after the nation-wide lockdown.

The results of this research are being released by the AA today and the complete SoS Report is available at: https://bit.ly/3Ngf0GY.

According to official crime statistics, there was a considerable increase in, for instance, contact crimes and murders from the April-June 2021 period to the October-December 2021 period. Although sexual crimes decreased in the second quarter of 2021, these again increased significantly in the October-December 2021 period.

Another alarming official statistic is that robbery and burglary at residential properties also increased over the 2021 period. The most prevalent crimes experienced by South Africans include housebreaking and robbery.

“These official statistics show the ongoing trend of growing crime in our country, and again highlight the need for South Africans to adopt additional safety measures to protect themselves, such as personal private security,” says Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA.

This view is supported by the findings of the report which suggests a high level of doubt in the efficacy of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“The majority of the respondents indicated that they have more trust in private security than in the SAPS. This is of concern due to the fact that the majority of respondents have been victims of crime, have witnessed crime, and want to report these crimes, however, lack trust in the SAPS,” the report finds.

The SoS Report also notes that respondents feel most safe within their own homes compared to public spaces, with many respondents saying they avoid public spaces as a direct result of fear for their personal safety.

Many respondents also claim to have added a variety of safety features to their homes to improve their personal security. These include adding burglar bars, alarm systems and security cameras to their homes in addition to extra lighting on the outside of their homes.

Another key finding from the SoS Report is that respondents reported more concern for the physical safety of parents and children than other loved ones and themselves.

The report notes, “… South Africans are less likely to acknowledge the possibility of their physical safety being infringed upon. Therefore, individuals will generally report more concern for their loved ones, than for themselves”.

Groenewald says because of official crime statistics, and the results of the first State of Security survey conducted in 2019/2020 (which are again repeated in the 2022 findings), the AA introduced its mobile security app known as AA Armed Response. The app is available as part of the AA’s Rescue Me suite of apps within the AA app.

“Since we first introduced Armed Response, our offering has grown from an app only available on mobile devices to a small standalone device called Rem-i Amica which provides any user access to more than 180 armed security service providers throughout the country. We understand personal security for people and their families is a priority and this is our way of ensuring some peace-of-mind to citizens in the country,” says Groenewald.

AA Armed Response is a location-based security solution which provides immediate co-ordinates of the user’s location to a call centre when activated. More than 180 private professional security companies throughout South Africa are contracted on the service and the closest security provider to the user’s location is then dispatched to provide armed assistance. The services rendered through AA Armed Response are provided by professional security personnel, from independent, registered security companies.

Groenewald says AA Armed Response has no limitations in terms of use, and can be activated by users who feel threatened, or even if someone is at their own home which has a separate armed security service.

“We cannot ignore the fact that our country is dangerous and that many people feel threatened both inside and outside of their homes. There is a dire need for people to not only feel safe but to actually have the tools to protect themselves – apart from carrying weapons, so even children can use it – if they need to. Part of the solution for us, is to provide a service which is reliable and affordable and with AA Armed Response we have that solution,” notes Groenewald.

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