Cable thief arrested

28 April 2008

The worldwide incidence of cable theft, driven by the escalating value of copper and other metals, has hit UCT's campuses.

Recently Campus Protection Security's Christopher Mkefe was instrumental in the arrest of a man stealing cable during earthworks on the soccer field near Kopano residence.

At the time he was employed by a contractor.

"It's something that has affected UCT in the past few months. We've had reports of copper and brass piping being stolen, particularly from building excavations," risk services manager John Tunstall said.

The situation has been aggravated by the fact that ignorant cable thieves dig up copperless fibre optic cables, disrupting whole networks.

Properties and Services have offered a reward of R1 500 to CPS guards for each cable theft conviction.

Despite the rise in this category, general crime levels had dropped significantly, Tunstall said.

"In 2001 there were over 1 000 incidents of crime reported. This figure was down to 408 in 2007. It's a gauge of our success."

The biggest reduction has been in theft from offices.

"We provide dedicated patrols for our buildings and we're glad to say that this, coupled to greater vigilance by staff, has made the rate almost negligible."

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