Crime warning

27 March 2006

The Monday Paper has received a call from the Observatory Civic Association who are concerned about student safety in Observatory.

According to Brian Gray, the association's deputy chairman, the group regularly meets with the Woodstock SAPS and it has been brought to their attention that students, especially foreign students, are being targeted by criminals in the area.

"Autobank fraud (card swapping) is a fairly regular occurrence at the Standard Bank ATM in Station Road and we wish to advise students to exercise caution when using this particular ATM. They should not withdraw money late at night, as the possibility of being mugged is a real threat."

Gray says they have also been informed that students who leave the night clubs and pubs in the early hours of the morning are being followed and mugged.

Another cause for concern is theft out of motor vehicles due to carelessness. Any items left in the car should be locked in the boot.

Gray urges victims of crime in the area to report to the Woodstock SAPS, as crime statistics are used by the police to plan crime prevention operations.

The following phone numbers are useful in case of an emergency: Woodstock SAPS: (021) 442 3100; Observatory Sector SAPS: 073 315 7456; SAPS Flying Squad: 10111; ADT: 086 1212 300; Observatory Community Safety: (021) 448 0666; ambulance: 101777; Groote Schuur Hospital (021) 404 9111; Rape Crisis Observatory: (021) 447 9762 (24 hours); Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre: (021) 447 8026; fire: 107.

Please note that the emergency number to phone for Campus Protection Services is ext 2222.

Eye witnesses urgently sought

On Monday, March 20, at about 12h45 a Coin Security armed [bullet proof] vehicle came to collect money at STA Travel in the Leslie Building on upper campus. The vehicle stopped in Library Road, two guards got out of the vehicle and the driver drove up Library Road to turn. He stopped at the back of UCT Radio and waited for the two guards. The driver told the SAPS that three men had approached him in Library Road, produced firearms and threatened to shoot him if he did not open the van. He said he had opened the doors and two of the men got into the Coin van and forced him to drive to a quiet road in Rondebosch where they handcuffed him and took containers from the van. He ran to the Rondebosch police station and reported the incident. The Coin van was recovered near Stanley Road on middle campus. The UCT crime investigation team conducted an investigation on the day and tried to find eye witnesses. They were unsuccessful. This incident allegedly happened in a very busy section of upper campus at a busy time of day. Would anyone who witnessed anything please contact UCT crime investigations manager Steven Granger on tel (021) 650 2226 or e-mail

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