Crime dominates the news headlines across South Africa and it affects all of us. While UCT campuses have a relatively low rate of crime compared with the rest of Cape Town, the safety of students and staff members is still the university’s highest priority.
Some UCT properties, including student residences, are in residential areas that are currently experiencing higher crime levels, as confirmed by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
UCT’s Safety & Violence Initiative (SaVI) reports that in and around UCT campuses this year, there have been 36 reported cases of robberies and attempted robberies of students and staff as of 22 May 2017. This is a 12.5% increase in reported robberies compared to the same period in 2016 (32 cases). This increase is a worrying trend and UCT is working with the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to understand the circumstances and to strengthen security measures.
UCT keeps up to date with the latest security innovations and we test new products for possible upgrades on campus. UCT also shares information on a regular basis with GSCID and SAPS. As a result of these ongoing efforts, in the midst of a city that is beset by violent crime, UCT campuses have a very low crime rate and most reported crimes are in the nature of petty theft.
UCT’s Campus Protection Services (CPS) officers investigate every reported crime on campus.
The university has invested millions of rands into installing an extensive network of 350 CCTV cameras on our campuses, which are monitored by CPS staff. However, not every inch of the campus can be monitored at all times. As such, CPS encourages students and staff to be vigilant. We remind everyone not to leave belongings unattended, for instance.
We also advise students to walk in groups rather than alone, especially at night, and to use the “blue light” route between middle and upper campus, which is marked by security bollards topped with flashing blue lights. This route is monitored heavily by CPS.
UCT is an active part of the City of Cape Town. We maintain an open campus and invite the public to participate in many open events. Traffic booms are operated on some access roads to help control traffic flow – not to restrict access. We are, however, instituting new ways to monitor motor vehicle access to upper campus and to increase the visibility of our security personnel.
We encourage students and staff members to report any suspicious activity to the nearest CPS officer. CPS officers are available to escort students walking across campus at night. The CPS emergency numbers are printed on the back of every UCT identity card. Parents can also call this number if they are concerned about a student’s safety on campus: 021 650 2222/3.
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