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Crime Avoidance

  • UCT's Campus Protection Service (CPS) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • UCT is a founder member and donor to the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID), which aims to deal with neighbourhood crime, grime, transport and housing problems that are faced by the students, residence and business in the area.
  • All Semester Study Abroad off-campus housing are located within the GSCID area (View the map).
  • Be crime conscious - be aware of crime opportunities at all times.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in a good condition when you plan to go on a journey.
  • Ensure that the fuel tank of your vehicle always has sufficient fuel.
  • Always lock your vehicles doors and keep the windows closed.
  • Do not leave your vehicle unlocked, even if you think you will be away for only a minute.
  • If a stranger wants to talk to you while in your vehicle, do not open the window wide -only 5 cm is enough to have a discussion.
  • If something seems suspicious, do not talk to strangers, rather be rude and drive away.
  • Limit your trips at night or at least take someone along with you.
  • If strangers loiter near or at your driveway, rather drive past. If they loiter for a long time, report it to your nearest police station.
  • Car jackers may stage a minor accident so they can approach your car.
  • If your car is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual(s) involved in the situation, drive to the nearest police station for help.
  • Do not resist, especially if the thief has a weapon.
  • A lift club limits the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
  • Do not give strangers a lift.
  • A gear lock is an affordable and a very effective anti-theft device.
  • If possible, put up a mirror against the front wall of your garage to see if someone is following you into the garage.
  • Do not open your garage doors before your gates are closed

The Mind of an Intruder

An intruder has a script. In his mind, he has mapped out a plan of what he wants to get and how he's going to do it. Most intruders do not enter with the purpose of harming or killing the homeowner. This is most likely to happen if you change their script during the break-in by making the intruder feel threatened or confronted. Use the following answers as a guide:

How should I respond during a break-in situation?

  • Remain passive - don't attack the intruder.
  • Gather your family into a small space, such as a bedroom, which you can defend should the intruder try to enter that space.
  • Alert your armed response, such as by pushing a panic button or pressing the pre-programmed speed dial on your cellphone.

What if I'm held hostage?

  • Remain passive, calm and co-operative. Don't look directly at the attacker - this increases his/her risk of being identified by you at a later stage and consequently increases your risk of being harmed.
  • Sometimes we feel defenceless in an attack situation. It is important to remember that you are not defenceless, especially as adults. Your greatest defences can be what you already possess: your intellect, voice, reasoning, negotiating skills, and the ability to calm yourself. If you see yourself as helpless and defenceless, you are more likely to feel victimised.
  • Remember that you are dealing with another human being, and if you can somehow connect on that level, that may be your best defence. Try to let them see you as a human being.

If you a UCT student please access the following link for Health, Counselling and Safety.

Post-Trauma Counselling

The trauma room at Rondebosch police station advises that the key to helping someone who has gone through a traumatic experience is to be a willing listener. Often, people don't want advice or to hear something like, "At least you weren't killed!" Instead they want someone who will comfort them and simply nod in appreciation of the victim opening up about their experience.

Adults and children benefit from post-traumatic counselling and it would be advisable to contact someone in this regard. Children, however, are more resilient than adults, and often cope better with post-traumatic stress. Important pointers for helping children cope effectively would be to keep them in their routine and try to continue with their normal day-to-day life as much as possible. They need love and patience and tend to draw a lot of their strength from their adult role models, so it is important that adults do not pass on their negative feelings regarding the incident.

A helpful tool in the recovery process is to prepare for future incidents with some kind of self-protection device or skill. This may include buying a pepper spray or taking a self-defence course.

Trauma counselling can be obtained from LifeLine by phoning 0861 322 322 in Cape Town, or 011 728 1347 in Johannesburg.