TARYN RICHMOND

Perdeby has recently heard complaints about incidents of crime in Hatfield and asked students how safe they feel walking around the area.

A poll done to assess how students feel about the issue suggests that 67% of students polled, the majority of them female, don’t feel safe in the Hatfield area. Thirty-three out of 100 students polled said that they do feel safe walking around the Hatfield area. Ten of those students admitted that they only ever walk around Hatfield alone during the day.

Politics student Samantha Napo said that she does feel safe in Hatfield but only “feels safe around campus where there are security guards on duty.” Musa Mahganyi, a BSc Biological Sciences student, explained that because the

streets are so busy around Hatfield during the day and night, he feels safe, but it is also partly because he is a man and can defend himself. Raynor van der Merwe, a civil engineering student commented on Twitter, “I don’t feel safe at all! Hatfield has become extremely dodgy. [I] hear of muggings and robberies way too often.”

Most of the students interviewed said that although they feel safe during the day, they cannot walk around the streets alone after 18:00 as most know of at least two students who have been mugged in the area. Prince Moloto, a BCom (Hons) Financial Management student said, “I do not feel safe because I know of a few people that have been mugged while walking home.”

Third-year journalism student Kylie Stephen explained that in the four years that she has lived in Pretoria, she has been mugged twice while walking through Hatfield. Both instances were at night and were on fairly well-lit streets.

Lieutenant-Colonel Msengi, a detective at the Brooklyn Police Station, stated in an interview that many of these muggings occur without other students even noticing and that many have occurred during the day. He said that often a criminal will approach a student and act as if they know them to get the student to let down their guard. “Midway through the

conversation, they may snatch the bag that the student is holding which often contains laptops, cell phones or money,” he said. Msengi added that because Hatfield is an area full of pubs and other social gathering places, it is difficult to control what happens in the area.

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MEDIA STATEMENT FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE CORPORATE COMMUNICATION BROOKLYN

 

To:  Perdeby Embargo: For immediate release Date: Friday 3 May 2013

STUDENTS CAN PREVENT STREET ROBBERIES 

PRETORIA – Hatfield is certainly one of the busiest areas in the Brooklyn policing precinct.  At any time of day or night the streets are alive with the hustle and bustle of activities, mostly involving young people.

Thousands of students and other young people from all over Gauteng frequent the area daily for studies, shopping and entertainment from early in the mornings until very late. The area is well known for its crowded streets and the thousands of vehicles that are parked on the side of roads.

Not only is the area known for the entertainment at clubs and pubs, but criminals know there are many opportunities to commit their crimes.  Unfortunately students are often the target.

Students unnecessarily expose themselves to situations where they can fall victim to crime, one of which is the abuse of alcohol.  Excessive drinking impairs judgment and makes you an easy target.  Street robbers prefer targets they can easily intimidate, subdue or overpower.  Therefore a drunken person might appear particularly vulnerable to them.

The South African Police Service and security partners such as the University of Pretoria, Tshwane Metro Police and Hatfield CID are investing a lot to ensure the safety of people and property in the area. However, every person, no matter where s/he is, must be aware of crime risks and should take basic steps to ensure their own safety. To this end, the South African Police Service offers the following advice to students;

  • When going out, try to stay in a group, there is safety in numbers.  Walk with others at night, including to and from your car, whenever possible.
  • Try to park in well-lit areas and be cautious when strangers approach you.
  • It is also advisable to have one person as a designated driver to prevent driving under the influence and possible arrest.  Drink responsible and don’t do drugs!
  • Never offer a ride to someone you do not know or who you just met.  Also do not go with, or accept rides from strangers.
  • Offenders tend to look for victims who seem unaware of their immediate surroundings.  Students who are using their cellphones, or are wearing headphones might appear less alert than other people. It is often reported that the perpetrator grabbed the cellphone from the victim while s/he was texting or talking on the phone.  This is an indication that it is not safe to use your cellphone on the street.  Rather conceal it until you have reached your destination. The music you are listening to on your headphones is a distraction from what is going on around you.  It prevents you from hearing certain tell-tale sounds such as running feet, or the rustle of clothing as someone approaches you quickly.
  • Do not get distracted by people who want to sell items or services to you on the streets. They are often the front of opportunistic thieves.
  • Do not leave ANY items, valuable or invaluable in plain sight in your vehicle. Put valuables in the boot of the car BEFORE you drive to a destination.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is locked before you leave the car. Test the doors before you leave the car. Never allow anone to distract you when you enter your car.

Items that are mostly stolen are cellphones, purses, handbags, laptops and cash.  Try to keep your valuables out of sight.  Male students are more targeted than female students.  Most of these street robberies occur after midnight and in the early morning hours (When clubs and pubs close).  Before class in the mornings and just after class in the afternoons are also times to be particularly careful.

In Hatfield, street robberies are often reported in the following streets:  Burnette, Park, Hilda, Prospect, Duxbury, South, Grosvenor, Herold and Jan Shoba.

Street robbers can sometimes be armed with knives or firearms and may be very dangerous.  Don’t try to be a hero – you will only be putting lives at risk.

Although many arrests made over years, street robberies remain opportunistic crimes that can only be reduced through a combined effort of the community and the persons who provide security in the area.

 

Students can assist the police assuming responsibility for their own safety and the security of their belongings by taking simple, common sense precautions. This will make student life more enjoyable.

Ends.

 

Issued by Corporate Communication Brooklyn

Enquiries; Captain Colette Weilbach

(012) 366 1845

079 695 1386

brooklyncommunication@saps.gov.za

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