If you were a missionary in Democratic Republic of Congo who travels through Zambia to Republic of South Africa as Seth and Darla Curtis do, this is the kind of embassy updates you would be concerned with.
Recently, there has been a substantial increase in the number of robberies committed in the Lusaka area against people in vehicles during daylight hours according to the US Embassy. Additionally, there has been increased criminal activity in Lusaka neighborhoods where many expatriates live and shop, including Woodlands (Pick and Pay store), Kabulonga (Melissa store), and Manda Hill Mall. Criminals have used assault rifles as a form of intimidation and, in one instance, actually fired shots.
The Embassy would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the following:
· Drive with your windows up and doors locked.
· If someone, either on foot or in another vehicle, attempts to get you to stop, either by hand motioning or attempting to use their vehicle to slow you down or block your path, get away from the situation. Always ensure that you have sufficient distance from surrounding cars so that you can get away.
· If you believe you are being pursued, immediately proceed to the closest police station or public area, such as a hotel. DO NOT proceed to your residence; the person could be attempting to find out where you live.
The key is not to isolate yourself in a remote area. While it is helpful to law enforcement if you are able to get the license plate number of the assailant’s vehicle, the priority should be on getting away from the situation.
In general, the holiday period can see increased criminal activity in public areas and at residences. The Embassy recommends the following precautions:
· Don’t try to do all of your holiday shopping at once. The more shopping bags you carry or pack into your car, the more inviting a target you make yourself.
· Be cautious of persons representing themselves as collectors for charity. This may be used as a ruse to gain access to your house, for actual crime or criminal surveillance of your property.
· Maintain a good grip on all bags, parcels and personal items while shopping or walking in public. Keep purses and bags closed, unless accessing them. Do not leave purses unattended in carts, in the store or in the parking lot.
· Do not leave items in plain view in your unattended vehicle. Place items or valuables in the trunk or in the rear of the vehicle out of sight.
· Most importantly, maintain good awareness of your surroundings. Listen to your instincts, if they tell you something is awry, get away from the situation!
The Embassy wishes you and your family safe, peaceful, and joyful holidays.