Safety on campus is our right, says VC

06 October 2008

Dear Colleagues

This week sees the beginning of a crime awareness campaign that will roll out on the upper, middle and lower campuses, continuing into mid-October 2008 to include the Hiddingh and health sciences campuses. I want to alert you to this and to inform you of related activities that have taken place.

I believe safety on campus is our right. Each individual in our community - student, staff member or visitor, male or female - should feel that they are secure.

We all share the responsibility to fight crime and to ensure a safe campus. We should not accept that 'crime happens' and no-one should leave the shared problem for others to fix.

This month I met with the station commanders from Rondebosch, Mowbray and Woodstock police stations. Our discussions centered on a mutual commitment to securing the campus, improving safety in the peripheral areas and to earnestly promoting the establishment of a Central Improvement District (CID) that will include UCT's main campus. I will keep you informed on this matter as we continue the work.

The facts are that our society is unsafe and the South African Police Services (SAPS) are battling an unacceptable wave of criminal activity. The collaboration between UCT and the SAPS is solid and our Campus Protection Services play an integral, active role in crime management.

We have continued various activities that underpin our UCT crime management strategy (some are listed below) and spend an ever-increasing fiscal amount each year on protecting ourselves.

When we take into consideration the broader crime context, UCT is a 'safe' campus with relatively few serious crimes within our borders. Of course, any criminal incident is unacceptable. Within UCT's borders in the past nine months we have investigated one serious assault, one rape, four armed robberies and 10 vehicle thefts.

In addition, over the past nine months we have had the following reports: cell phone theft (56), common assault (10), laptop theft (42) and theft from vehicles (24). Our records show that many of the theft cases would have been avoidable had people secured their property. These thefts often occur when property is not locked away or is left unattended in open offices.

I am appealing to you to play your part to combat this scourge. Wear the UCT identity cards, forward suggestions to CPS, email or phone if you notice suspicious behaviour, secure your property, discuss what can be done in your department to improve security. If we take our individual role in this seriously, we can make a difference.

For more information please click here.

Yours sincerely Dr Max Price

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