When The Phnom Penh Post suffered its sixth break-in last week the burglars demonstrated
considerable ingenuity by removing an air-conditioning unit from an outside wall
and squeezing inside the house.
Despite often elaborate precautions, a determined person will always find a way around
Only by being wise to some of the crimes currently being committed, it is possible,
perhaps, to stay safe.
Here we pass on a range of hints and advice from security experts and from victims.
Some advice may appear obvious and others, perhaps, strange but all are designed
to increase safety:
- Maintain vigilance day and night.
- Lock external doors even when people are in the house.
- Lock all internal doors at night.
- Keep a flashlight beside the bed.
- String razor-wire along external walls and hang cans filled with pebbles from
wire as an early-warning device.
- Beef up fences and security walls. Add broken glass. "Try to slow people
down, both getting in and leaving."
- Set up "Neighborhood Watch" schemes. Residents take turns patrolling
- Make entry difficult. Slow people down.
- Keeps lights on at night and illuminate blind spots.
- Beware of young men carrying notebooks who claim to be from the municipality
asking to inspect your property.
- Beware of buying local locks. Duplicate keys are easy to purchase.
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Deface valuable equipment with your name, so if it does get stolen it will stand
out at the market.
- Prevent doors from being forced from outside.
- Lock valuablåes away inside your house "so they have to break into
those as well."
- Bolt air-conditioning units firmly to an inside wall or encase in a steel cage.
- Check your power supply for illegal taps.
- Buy a dog.
- Train guards to report suspicious people and vehicles hanging around.
- Guard should wait outside the gate for your arrival.
- Keep your guard on his toes. Never give him a bed.
- If your guard keeps falling asleep, fire him.
- Have your guard ring a bell on each hour to show he is awake.
On the streets:
- Act as if you know where you' are going, even if you do not. Avoid looking at
maps on the street.
- Know the quickest and safest route to your destination.
- If you suspect somebody is following you, go into the nearest safe place, ie
resturant, friend's house, NGO office, etc.
- Hold any bags securely and make sure valuables are not carried together in the
same bag or pocket.
- Always carry a small amount of money to pay off muggers.
- Do not take risks and avoid arguments. If a driver challenges you over a fare
give what you think is right and walk away.
- If confronted with a weapon, try and deal with the situation calmly.
- To prevent overnight car theft, remove the distributor arm and/or electrical
- Inspect your vehicle thoroughly before driving. If you suspect problems, return
to your home/office and seek help. If you have to leave, drive to a police station
or a friend's house.
- Check the rear-view mirror regularly for suspicious vehicles. If you suspect
you are being followed do not signal your intentions.
- Vary your routes and driving patterns.
- Do not drink and drive. Do not speed.
- Travel with other vehicles.
- Keep all doors locked.
- Never carry valuables.
- Avoid remote city areas.
- If your vehicle is rammed avoid stopping until you reach a safe area.
- When arriving home, do not approach your driveway until the gates are fully open.
You can drive away if someone approaches you.
- Inform colleagues and friends of your whereabouts and travel plans.
- Avoid leaving main roads and well-lit areas.
- Travel with other people and find out as much as you can about the situation
at your destination.
- Avoid traveling after dark.
- Avoid unnecessary journeys.
- If you have communications equipment, ensure that it works and that you know
how to use it.
- Slow down at checkpoints and stop if told.
- Eat and drink in secure locations and never leave colleagues on their own.
- Comply with all demands. Your life is worth more than possessions.
- If attacked do not panic or be aggressive. Stay calm.
- If accused of anything, try and convince them their accusations are not justified.
- Try to make radio contact and then maintain it.
- Familiarize yourself with your location.
- Keep abreast of political developments and the military situation.
- Do not speak about politics in public but if compelled make agreeable statements.
- Avoid unnecessary radio conversations and be cautious.
- Keep mobile telephones out of sight.