As incidents of all kinds of crime, including armed robbery, usually spike at the beginning of the year when students are back on campus, Properties and Services' CPS (Campus Protection Services) and the SAPS urge the community to be vigilant and aware both on, and off, campus.
A number of the crimes have already taken place this year took place in secluded spots, or when belongings were left unattended. A good way to lower the risk of becoming a victim of crime, says Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam, Sector Commander and Communications for Rondebosch SAPS, is to always excercise caution.
While the SAPS, CPS and the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) are stepping up patrols in certain areas, and have a more visible presence on campus (including random vehicle check points), here are some ways they suggest students and staff can lower their risk:
- Do not walk along dark, secluded roads, especially late at night. Stick to main roads. Try and walk in a group.
- Use the shuttles, which run 24/7, to get to residences and upper campus.
- Talking on a cellphone distracts you from what is going on around you. Keep your cellphone out of sight when you are walking, and be conscious of your environment and what is going on around you.
- Do not walk with earphones attached to your ears. Firstly, if you are playing music you cannot hear if someone is approaching you, and it also makes you vulnerable, as an assailant will have easy access to your valuables.
- Do not walk off-campus late at night with a laptop bag, even if you don't have a laptop in it. The bags make you an inviting target for theft. Use a backpack instead.
- Never leave items unattended in common areas such as food courts and libraries, or at sporting activities, or in unattended and unlocked res rooms.
- Record the serial numbers of all electronic devices (record them in the cloud, or in a diary).
- Report all crimes.
If you encounter a threatening situation, the following tips are important to remember:
- No material possession is worth endangering one's life for.
- If confronted by a criminal who is armed, or claims to be armed, give up your property immediately.
- Use your judgement of the particular situation and do anything to stay alive. In emergencies call CPS on 021 650 2222/3.
- For more tips and information please visit http://www.uct.ac.za/students/health/campussafety/
- CPS is busy putting a strategy in place to prevent bicycle theft, and Monday Paper will report on this in the next edition.