Stay alert, CPS cautions campus community

14 February 2011

Prevention is better than cure, is the message from Campus Protection Services, as the new academic year moves up a gear. While UCT is a fairly safe environment, UCT's Campus Protection Services are asking students, particularly freshers, to be alert on and off campus.

"They [the students] come from different backgrounds and this is not to scare them, but to prepare them for the university environment," Gary Dyssel, campus protection manager, said of the safety talks the department conducts as part of the UCT student orientation programme.

Students are asked to:

  • avoid walking with their cell phones/wallets visible;
  • ignore people asking for directions;
  • refrain from using cell phones or iPods while walking, as these can distract them from their surroundings;
  • avoid offering unknown people money;
  • use backpacks rather than laptop bags when using public transport;
  • Avoid carrying additional money with them (no more than necessary for food, transport, etc); and
  • use registered cabs because others could be illegal and not insured.

For students staying in residences, CPS has this advice:

  • Don't prop open access control doors to keep them open;
  • Don't use access cards to open entrances for strangers;
  • Do report all suspicious activity to CPS;
  • Do lock doors at all times.
  • always walk in groups when going out at night and stay off Main Road,
  • always know where you are going and who you are going with,
  • always inform room-mates or sub-wardens when going out,
  • don't take open drinks from strangers in case the drinks are spiked.

Students and staff leaving the university late are encouraged to use the blue safe route and the CPS escorting service. The escorting service for students means an officer will walk or drive a student from a place of learning to a UCT residence. (Students are not allowed to drive CPS vehicles, though.)

If threatened, even if no weapons are visible, students are advised to hand over their items and try to get good description of the perpetrators and the direction they have headed, to help CPS and the police.

CPS can be reached at 021 650 2222/2121.

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