Negligent behaviour must go, says CPS

07 March 2005

What are you doing to ensure that you and your belongings do not fall victim to opportunistic criminals? Are you acting carelessly or are you taking responsibility for your own safety?

These are questions that Stuart Wragg, operations manager for Campus Protection Services (CPS), would like the university community to consider as the academic year gets underway and thefts on campus increase steadily.

"The onus is on individuals to ensure their own safety, the safety of their possessions and the university's property. CPS is there to support this process but we constantly find that crimes are occurring because of negligence and that campus security is being unnecessarily criticised," he said.

Wragg says an expectation exists that people should be street-wise and cautious, especially when dealing with a 25 000-strong community and open environment, such as UCT.

"Crime is a world-wide phenomenon and, as a microcosm of society, UCT will be susceptible to criminal behaviour, whether it involves off-campus suspects or those from within the community. But recent trends show that incidents on campus are crimes that could have been prevented."

Day-after-day offices are left unlocked, bags are left unattended and cell phones are left lying on desks - negligent behaviour that criminals welcome .

"As office and residence crimes are our focus area this year, we have intensified all building sweeps," Wragg explained. "After completing a sweep of the building we set up meetings with those concerned and discuss ways in which to secure the building and its assets. We have also completed numerous crime prevention workshops with first-years.

"It must be mentioned that there are many staff and students who are proactive and do engage us in discussions regarding safety and security. There are, however, still many who only take security seriously once they have become victims of crimes," he added.

Wragg said he would like staff and students to be held accountable when placing themselves and their belongings in dangerous or vulnerable situations.

"If you are responsible for a UCT or personal asset, and it goes missing due to your carelessness, shouldn't you be held answerable for its loss? These are questions we would like the community to debate. Use our suggestion boxes on campus or write letters to the Monday Paper but you can no longer sit back and think crime is only CPS's problem."

Wragg can be contacted on and letters can be sent to

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