|Stellenbosch no longer a safe place
STELLENBOSCH is not Hillbrow, but due to the high concentration of people, one would inevitably find more incidents of crime, says one student. As an increased amount of students fall victim to violent crime practices, the issue of crime in Stellenbosch has come under close scrutiny.
Two students were seriously injured after an attack with a baseball bat in their student house, reported Die Matie (15 March). Also reported in the same edition of Die Matie, two other students were eating chips in the Neelsie when two men assaulted them. One students jaw was broken on two places. The other had a skull fracture, broken hand and had to receive stitches in his cheek.
Earlier this month student Kevin Dimont was attacked when he tried to stop two men from burgling his car. He managed to fend off one who threatened him with an ice pick. In a skirmish with the second burglar, armed with a knife, Dimont was cut once on the forearm and stabbed twice in the shoulder. I lay there bleeding, until a friend came to my aid. He chased the two men away and phoned the police. Fifteen minutes later Dimont was taken to the hospital, whilst the police had still not arrived. Dimont commented that, although the police did show up, no fingerprints were taken. The assailants have to date not been arrested.
Students as target
This is probably the reason why a larger proportion of PSO students fall victim to criminal practices when compared to students in residences. As Frans Loots from Akkerhof flats comments: Students have become a target group due to their laid-back nature.
De Kock ascribes this to the sudden freedom experienced by students and the general mentality of it wont happen to me. How-ever, he asserts that crime is blind to colour, sex and age.
The police and University of Stellenbosch Protection Services (USPS) aim at creating and maintaining a safe environment by means of various safety programmes, of which the best known is definitely the Green Route. According to USPS, the purpose of this route is to provide a well-lit and patrolled preference route for students, in order to reduce the possibility of an attack. We do believe that we are achieving this goal, says the USPS spokesperson.
But a female student disagrees: Green Route guards are like the Phantom if the reason you dont see them is not a lack of proper lighting, its because theyre not there.
Last weekend, fourteen cases of house burglaries were reported in the area, five of which were from farms. Six thefts, two each in Louw Street and Langenhoven Street, as well as one each from the Eikenwater and Hagerhof flats, and nineteen cases of theft from motor vehicles were also reported to the police. A car radio was also stolen at the Studentekerk parking area.
Cellphone theft is on the increase in Stellenbosch, as more and more students get connected. Cellphones were stolen from Huis Visser, Serruria and the JS Gericke library during the last few days. A cellphone and a wallet were stolen from Simonsberg residence as well.
Safety on campus, while being an important issue, remains first and foremost ones own responsibility, De Kock concludes. To expose oneself to potentially dangerous situations such as walking alone at night or through dim-lit areas and leaving doors and windows open are all factors that increase risk.
Safer in a
Male students in certain university residences are concerned about the embedded mentality of their fellow residents, as one student puts it, Theyve done away with late lunches. And why? Because it always got stolen!