Many pundits say we are moving into a recession or depression, and that’s if we are not already living in it. The conditions in the country could hardly be more austere. We have seen record-high inflation and the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi. Prices have tripped and, in several cases, quadrupled. This means business expenses have increased significantly, having a dire effect on profit margins.

Ever heard of the saying, ‘Desperate Times Calls For Desperate Measures,’ which means things we would call extreme under normal circumstances become appropriate during severe adversity? It also means that desperate people may turn to crime or illegal means to support themselves out of frustration. What does all this mean for a fleet manager or an individual? It means this is the time to be more vigilant and security conscious.

In times of economic and financial crisis, specific crimes tend to increase significantly. Crime such as petty thefts, robberies, burglary, and motor vehicle theft increase as the perception of the state of the economy is propagated throughout the media. Suppose police agencies and criminologists report a high correlation between consumer perception of an austere economy with rising crime rates. In that case, there is a need for everyone to take security awareness seriously.

Every road user needs to pay more attention to what goes on around them, especially at night. This is not to say you should be carefree during the day, as more theft cases have been reported. You should keep your doors locked, including when driving or parked. Reduce purchases made in traffic to the barest minimum. When purchasing fuel at the fuel stations, ensure you double-check the fuel pump before and after being served.

Recently, a client reported a near miss, he asked for 500 GHC worth of fuel, and the attendant only served 400 GHC worth of fuel. Meanwhile, the fuel attendant charged 500 GHC at the POS. If he weren’t paying attention by checking the pump at the start and finish, that would have been a 100 GHC loss. There have been several cases of phones and laptops being stolen in parked cars.

If you have to drive with your valuables in the car, consider taking them in with you when you park or only park in places with a security presence. It gets worse at night because there is almost no one watching. Some people have had their vehicles broken into by criminals smashing their windows. 

Being more situationally aware does not happen in a vacuum. People can’t just flip a switch and automatically become more hyper-aware and sensitive. Your staff needs to be trained to form this habit. Their focus should be on people, time of day, vehicles, and the potential threats these elements pose.

As we move closer into the festive season, drivers should avoid overconfident or complacent attitudes. Just because you have driven a particular route for many years without incident doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. At the same time, ignorance can become problematic as well. Your ability to anticipate threats will come in handy.

To be more security conscious, a driver must avoid the following:

·     Stress

·     Drunk driving

·     Distracted driving

·     Fatigue

We advise fleet managers to use GPS devices to know their vehicles’ location should something untoward happen. Drivers should also use Google Maps to plan routes before a trip. If you’re used to stopping to ask for directions, consider stopping that. The last thing you need is to be seen as an easy target.

Do you have a robust fleet management system? It’s okay if you don’t have one yet. Learn more about how we can help improve your fleet operations, save lives, and reduce costs. Please send an email or call us.

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