Travel

Staying Safe At South Africa's World Cup

Is it crazy to go on a soccer vacation to a country with one of the highest rates of violent crime on Earth? There's also a risk of smaller crimes, such as the theft of wallets and cellphones, as well as credit card fraud.

South African authorities have promised a safe World Cup, with 41,000 police to be deployed during the tournament.

Travelers also can take simple steps to reduce the risk of crime:

—Always lock car doors, and keep windows closed. Keep your valuables out of sight and reach.

—If bumped from behind at a traffic light, drive to the nearest police station.

—If you are hijacked, cooperate fully. Stay calm. Keep hands in view. Make no sudden moves. Don't meet the hijackers' eyes. Ask permission before removing your seatbelt or leaving the car.

—On foot, be alert and avoid isolated or dark areas and alleys. Don't jog alone in parks. Stick to well-lighted areas at night. Travel in a group, if possible.

—If you're driving, know your route and the areas to avoid. If lost, don't stop but drive to a business or garage.

—Don't wear expensive watches, jewelry or keep your camera around your neck. Don't carry a wallet in your back pocket. Keep handbags zipped. Consider using a money belt. Use hotel safes. Don't carry large amounts of cash. Don't leave valuables in hotel rooms.

—Bring certified copies of important documents, such as your driver's license and passport.

—When arriving at your hotel at night, use the main, well-lighted entrance.

—Don't accept help from anyone at an ATM, including anyone in a police uniform. If approached, cancel the transaction immediately. Don't use ATMs in poorly illuminated, isolated areas.

—Never let your credit card out of sight.

For more safety tips, go to: www.saps.gov.za/crime(underscore)prevention/safety(underscore)tips/safety(underscore)tips(underscore)index.htm

Police station online directory: www.saps.gov.za—dynamicModules/internetSite/PStationsConDir.asp

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