Crime Awareness Bulawayo Update 2nd Quarter – 3rd Group

“We cannot with safety swerve from principle, we cannot violate justice, we cannot neglect mercy.” By Ellen G. White

 

Welcome to all our old and new members.  Some were lost, but have informed me of change of address etc.

 

With the continued decline of our economy, more and more people are turning to crime.  Some out of pure desperation to feed their families, but many have joined organized criminal gangs who do this for a living.

 

The cold weather has come in like a polar blast.  This does not stop the criminals from being active, so please be aware.  Whilst you are snuggled up in bed, and hear a noise outside or your alarm goes off, do the following:

 

  1. Look at your alarm board to see which section has been breached. If an inside PRI has gone off, ensure your family is ushered quickly and quietly into your safe room – usually a bathroom with a cell phone, blankets and for little ones a little snack placed strategically in a cupboard (as fully explained in previous updates).  Phone the rapid response you belong to.
  2. If the alarm has been breached outside, your outside lights should be on and you can walk around the inside of the house without switching any lights on, this helps you being undetected by the criminal. Carefully check the windows and look outside to see if you have a criminal lurking around.
  3. If you have Zesa blackouts frequently, I would suggest you buy solar lights and there are a range of them that have sensor adjustments, small to big wattage etc. Place these strategically around your garden (where obviously the sun can charge them or be dismounted during the day to charge and remounted in the afternoon). I know of some people who have put a buzzer onto the sensor solar light to warn them someone is walking around.
  4. Criminals can strike at any time and the colder it is sometimes the earlier they will be around, even while you are watching TV!
  5. Parts of your home where you are not using, should have windows securely closed and doors locked while you are busy in another part of the house.
  6. Ensure all vehicles are locked.
  7. All garden tools are locked up.
  8. Don’t leave anything that will help a criminal to get over walls, gates etc.
  9. Big dogs should be allowed to roam around outside, and small dogs locked up inside. Either way they will hopefully alert you as to intruders in the garden.  BUT please check when they are barking!  Far too many people own dogs and do not check what they are barking at.  Also, have activated charcoal handy, in case your outside dogs are given poison, but you must administer quickly whilst phoning the vet. Tablespoons of the charcoal mixed in water and forced fed if necessary will draw all the poison out of the system.
  10. If you see people urinating against your perimeter, be careful, this is a ploy to get your dogs to be friendly so that they can have access to your property and the dogs will be “happy” to let them in, thinking they are not a threat!

 

DRIVING

 

Laws are there to protect people but it seems like everyone must drive like hooligans in this country.

  1. Making a straight lane into a turning lane or not staying behind a car turning but overtaking into oncoming traffic is unacceptable even if the intersection is clear!
  2. 4 lane road, ie, 2 lanes going both ways, and making a 3rd lane to overtake onto oncoming traffic! What is this, a death wish?
  3. Speeding – stick to the speed limit.
  4. Driving on the line (if you can see it) with your right tyres – NOOOO, drive in the centre of your lane.
  5. Driving round a left corner while the traffic light is still red, again, show respect for the laws in this country.
  6. We still have not changed to SADC road laws, so it is give way to the right at an intersection where the traffic lights are not working.

 

CYBER BULLYING

 

This is a very indepth explanation and changes that can be done about cyberbullying. So brace yourselves.

Quote from verywellfamily

 

Cyberbullying is a growing social problem that has become all too common in online communities.  Research indicates that one in five tweens has been cyberbullied, while 59% of teens have been harassed online.  And the rate at which online bullying is occurring does not seem to be declining.

 

In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, cyberbullying escalated.  During stay-at-home orders, research shows cyberbullying increased 70% and toxicity on online gaming platforms increased 40%.

 

Figures from America

 

Why prevention is important

 

Cyberbullying is deliberately and repeatedly inflicting harm using electronic device, gaming apps, and online social media platforms.  It often manifests as hate accounts, hurtful social media posts, online rumours and gossip, and mean comments while gaming.  The intention is almost always to embarrass, threaten, humiliate, intimidate, or abuse the intended target.

 

Research has shown that those who are cyperbullied suffer a number of different consequences, including struggling emotionally, physically, mentally, and academically.  What’s more, cyberbullying is a significant stressor in a young person’s life.  Cyberbullying leaves young people feeling hurt, embarrassed, and sometimes even scared.

 

Not only do they often blame themselves for the torment and harassment they experience, but they also are left feeling extremely stressed out.  In fact, on study found that nearly 35% of those targeted by cyberbullies reported symptoms of stress.

 

Kids targeted by cyberbullies also may experience physical symptoms in response to the stress they are experiencing.  They may complain of stomach aches, headaches, skin conditions, and other physical ailments.

 

Kids sleeping and eating habits can be impacted by cyberbullying.  Sometimes kids who are cyberbullied will crash diet or binge eat as either a way of coping with the cyberbullying or as an attempt to alter the way they look in hopes the cyberbullying will end.

 

Grades and extracurricular activities may also suffer as a result of harassment.  Teens may skip school or have trouble concentrating on their studies because cyberbullying is consuming all of their time and energy.

 

It’s also not uncommon for cyberbullying victims to feel alone and isolated. Many kids who are targeted report being ostracized at school.  This experience, in turn, impacts their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.  Ultimately, cyberbullying can lead to self-harm and even suicidal thoughts.

 

When kids are regularly harassed by others through social media posts, text messages, instant messaging, and blog posts, they can start to feel hopeless.  They may start to think that the only way to escape the torment is through suicide.  Because the risks associated with cyberbullying are so significant, it’s important that parents take steps to prevent the cyberbullying in their kids’ lives.

 

How to prevent Cyberbullying

 

While there is no foolproof way to prevent your child from ever being cyberbullied, there are things you can do together to reduce the likelihood they will be targeted.  This includes implementing safety measures as well as having ongoing conversations about cyberbullying.  You need to discuss what cyberbullying is, the risks associated with experiencing it, and how it can escalate.

 

It’s also important to talk to your tweens and teens about how to use social media safely and responsibly and what they should do if they are bullied online.

 

Protect Accounts and Devices

 

It’s important that your child uses passwords on everything (and ONLY you as the parent should know them).  Passwords are one of the most effective ways to protect accounts and devices.

 

Emphasize that your child should never share their passwords with anyone, including their best friend.  Even though they may trust that friend implicitly, the reality is that friends come and go and there is no guarantee they are going to be friends forever.

 

Use Privacy Tools and Settings

 

No matter what your teen does online, make sure they are aware of the privacy settings and tools offered by the organization.  Almost every social media platform including Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and TikTok have privacy settings.

 

Go through each account with your child and help them set their privacy settings to the most secure settings.  This means making accounts private, preventing people from tagging them, requiring other people to get permission before sharing one of their photos, and so on.

 

Keep Personal Stuff Private

 

Kids (I feel adults too) should never share their address, cell phone number, or email address online.  They should be careful about sharing too much information about where they go to school, especially if they have friends or followers online that they don’t know really well.

 

Remind them that people are not always who they claim to be online.  Even though the profile photo is a teenage girl/boy, that doesn’t mean the person behind the account is actually a teenage girl/boy.  It could be someone pretending to be a young girl/boy in order to gather information on other teens.

 

Manage Location Sharing

 

Some smartphones allow users to share their location with friends.  This means that if they share their location with people, these people will always know where they are.  Have a discussion with your child about who they can share their location with or if they can share it at all.

 

Likewise, some photos taken with smartphones already contain geotags that indicate where the photo was taken. People can use these photos to determine your child’s location, even if they never mention where the photo was taken.

 

Your child needs to be mindful about which photos they are sharing and when.  For instance, you may want them to refrain from posting vacation pictures until you have returned from vacation.  This way, you are not letting the entire online world know that no one is at your home for the next two weeks.

 

Teach them to Think Before Posting

 

Help your tweens and teens get in the habit of taking some time before posting.  For instance, they could create a post offline and then come back to it in an hour and decide if they still want to post it. Doing so will keep them from posting things that they may later regret.

 

Cyberbullies may take what your child posted and use it against them in some way, so it might be helpful to encourage your child to take time to think before posting. Of course, if someone wants to use something against them, it won’t necessarily matter what the contact is.

 

But by taking their time to craft a post, your child will be able to think through what they are posting and determine whether or not it’s something they want to say publicly.  This is a good practice for kids in order to maintain a healthy relationship with social media.

 

You also need to teach your tween or teen how to practice digital etiquette.  Using social media and other online tools is a privilege, not a right, and one that can be taken away if they are unable to use it responsibly.

 

Conduct a Social Media Audit

 

Every month or so, sit down with your tween or teen and go through their social media accounts.  Together, determine what posts may need to be deleted from their account.  This exercise is especially important as they prepare to apply to university or look for a new job.

 

Many times, universities and hiring managers will look through an applicant’s social media accounts to get a feel for their personality and character.  Together with your teen, be sure your teen’s posts and photos are sending the message they want others to receive.

 

Log out when using public devices

 

Always log out of devices used in libraries etc. Closing a tab is not enough.

 

Refuse to respond to cyberbullies

 

Refrain from responding, meaning, do not argue, try to explain or engage in any way with a cyberbully. They are looking for an emotional response, if not given anything, the bully has a one-sided communication.

 

Take screenshots of the harassment and save as proof for future documentation.

 

Report Cyberbullies

 

The child must tell the parent, then advise the social media platform, internet service provider and other necessary parties.  You may need to contact the school or police to put an end to the harassment.

 

Once steps have been taken as above, block the person or account.  It doesn’t prevent them from using a different account or public space to continue, but it will slow them down.

 

Teens witness a lot, so instead of participating they should look for ways to support the person being targeted. Report what they witness online to a responsible adult, teacher, headmaster, especially if they know who is doing the cyberbullying.

 

Be part of your child’s internet activity

 

Talk to your child about implementing strategies to prevent cyberbullying.  Use online tools safely, to protect themselves from trolls, cyberbullies and other toxic people online. Including how to report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities.

COUNSELLING AVAILABLE

 

Crime Awareness is into its 19th year of operation in Bulawayo and I am into my 23rd year since being involved with the Anti Hijack Trust in Harare.  Years of experience and I have managed to guide a number of people around Zimbabwe into operating business-like affairs in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch etc.

 

I do not charge for counseling victims – they are survivors in my eyes – so naturally I still need a great deal of donations and support from the communities that I hold dear to my heart.

 

 

 

 

WISH LIST

 

If any company or individual wants to donate something towards Crime Awareness Bulawayo, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Please assist where possible

 

  • Stationery – new printer cartridges for Canon being black 512 and colour 513, and any other stationery – especially as I need to print out my updates and have hard copies!
  • Payment for ADSL

 

THANK YOU to REGULAR SPONSORS

 

I have the following companies and individuals to thank for donations and services already received this year and going to continue:

 

Comp-IT

Mine Machines

Toyota Bulawayo

Utande

 

All the people who give me words of encouragement and support THANK YOU.

 

HOT LINES

 

Crime Awareness Tracey Conway-Burns BULAWAYO direct:  0712-701 323

 

EMRAS  (Emergency Ambulance Services) in Bulawayo: 029-2262611

MARS (Medical Air Rescue Services Ambulance) in Bulawayo: 029 – 2264082

 

POLICE

24 Hour Instant Hijack Reaction Team in Bulawayo: 029-2885479 (Stops Camp)

CID Central Police Station Bulawayo: 029-2275168 (Wk Hours)

CID Central Police Station Bulawayo: 029-2266306 (24 Hours)

They are fully armed.  Call them if you have been hijacked as soon as physically possible.

24 hour National Complaints Line (024) 2703 631 The following names could have changed:

Help desk – Assistant Inspector Muhondi – (024) 2754333/4

Spokesman – Inspector Chigome – 0782 951 537

Assistant – Sergeant Govere – 0772 969 485

Assistant – Sergeant Phiri – 0777 616 193

If you are unsure that the fine is correct or that the police road block does not meet all the legal requirements, you can call the ZRP hotlines and ask for assistance.

 

Childline Bulawayo (child abuse, rape etc)  :029-2888891 or (toll free) 2882761

 

Contact Family Counselling Centre: Help for drug abuse, family abuse, divorced parents etc: (029) 2272400 email: contact@contactfcc.co.zw

 

The Haven Trust (a transitional home for abused women and their children)

No: 029-2242071

Fax No:  029-2286151 Mobile Nos:  0712-231 309 / 0775-174 443

 

Musasa Project Bulawayo (abused wives and families, rape):029-2880112 or 029-2882888

 

24 Hour Clinic – Margaran House S. Pairienyatwa between 9th and 8th Avenues.

Tel:  (029) 2881899

Cell: 0712 – 881 439

 

Know your police station numbers for your area.

 

GUEST SPEAKER

Please contact me for any talks for schools, companies, groups or questions on individual security, etc on crime@iwayafrica.co.zw or cell no: 0712-701 323, for your bookings or questions so that I can place it in my diary.

 

Please note that anyone who wants to quote in writing any information that I have stated in my updates for the past 16 years, to please verify with me that I will allow you to use it, in case it is a sensitive issue where just a word out of place can result in upsetting individuals and to acknowledge use by placing it under Crime Awareness Bulawayo including any other quotes I have used, to mention them – state it all correctly.

Tracey Conway-Burns – UNQUOTE

 

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